Adirondack Council

Essex Farm Institute - October 2019 Update

Founded in 2012, the Essex Farm Institute (EFI) became a program of the Adirondack Council in October 2018.

EFI’s vision is for working farms in the Adirondack Park to:

  • Provide prosperous, secure, long-­‐term livelihoods for farmers and their worker.
  • Mitigate climate change through healthy agricultural soils and leadership in renewable.
  • Directly improve human health through available, accessible locally grown healthy.

The mission of the Essex Farm Institute (EFI) is to support, promote and train farmers to build resilient, diversified farms that are economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally beneficial.

Over the course of the 11 months that EFI has been part of the Council, it has become clear that there is space in the policy and community development landscape for EFI to be a voice for agriculture in the Adirondacks. EFI will help foster the many benefits that a vibrant, triple bottom line agricultural economy can have for the long-­‐term benefit of the wild habitat of the Park and the resilient human communities within it.

In 2019-­‐2020, EFI’s priority areas are three-­‐fold:

  1. Climate change mitigation and adaptation by farms in the Adirondack Park.
  2. Local food for local health.
  3. Farm business prosperity.

EFI’s recent activities have included, but are not limited to:

  1. Climate change mitigation and adaptation
    • Climate and Agriculture letters to the Governor regarding Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act with American Farm Land Trust.
    • Network with climate and ag stakeholders, and attendance at the policy conference on Climate and Agriculture legislation in New York State with American Farm Land.
  2. Local food for local health
    • Essex County Resolution of Appreciation for Essex County Farmers and health benefits of local food, approved July 29.
    • Raise awareness regarding the challenges farmers have in becoming WIC and SNAP vendors; collaboration with the Council on Hunger and Food.
  3. Farm business prosperity

Much of EFI’s current work involves developing a foundation of knowledge, partnerships and strategies to guide our work and ensure we are effectively and efficiently focused on our mission.

In 2019, this cross-­‐cutting and representational work has focused on:

  • Essex County Farm Bureau -­‐ participated in monthly Essex County Farm Bureau meetings -­‐ proposed resolutions to support agriculture’s role in the new CLCPA (Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act).
  • Support creation and implementation of an online ordering platform for local food in the North Country in collaboration with Hub on The Hill, ANCA (Adirondack North Country Association), CCE (Cornell Cooperative Exchange) and Essex County Health.
  • Representing farmers and EFI at Adirondack Day in Albany (May 13), Good Food Spotlight in NYC (July 15), Essex County Ag Day (July 29), Cycle Adk (Aug 21).
  • Commission and creation of resources on agriculture in the Adirondacks:

Over the next six to 12 months, given available resources, EFI’s work will focus on:

  • Continued monitoring of agriculture policy and engagement on relevant policy.
  • Initial research and interviews to establish a strategic vision for agriculture in the Adirondack Park.
  • Foundational research and outreach to create low interest revolving loan options for farmers in the Adirondacks. (This fund would be housed outside the Council).
  • Development of a Professional Development Fund for one-­‐on-­‐one job coaching for farmers in the Adirondacks.
  • 2020 Food Justice Summit.

EFI’s human resources include:

  • Program Director, Racey Henderson, 15 hours a week.
  • Adirondack Council Policy Fellow, Casey Marvell, 3-­‐5 hours per week.
  • 2019 Summer Rural Law Fellow, 20 hours per week (June-­‐August).
  • Fundraising, communications and management support from Adirondack Council staff.
  • Graduate research projects at Pace University Law School, Tufts University, and SUNY Plattsburgh.

19-20 Accomplishments

21-22 Accomplishments

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