Stirpe: Buy local and support our community’s farmers

Al Stirpe

We’re lucky to have so many great farms here in Onondaga County. They help make our communities more vibrant, providing delicious and wholesome foods and beverages, as well as family fun activities and community events. Owning and maintaining a farm takes a lot of hard work and despite the challenges they face, farmers give back to our communities in so many ways. Together, we can do our part to support farmers by visiting farmers markets and buying locally sourced food, so that they can continue providing the great products we all love.

As a member of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, I’m always looking for ways to make farmers’ jobs easier. By helping farmers succeed, we can help boost our local economy. The costs of farming can be especially burdensome on beginner and small, family-owned farms. That’s why I’m fighting to cut red tape for farmers. I sponsored a bill to reduce the food processing license fee for non-chain, small-scale food processors and entrepreneurs to ensure that these food providers can flourish (A.823-A). I also co-sponsored the Buy from the Backyard Act – a measure that would require the state Office of General Services (OGS) and other state agencies to buy 20 percent of their food products from producers and farmers in New York State (A.2185). This legislation ensures state agencies support our state’s economy.

I also helped fight for farmers in this year’s state budget by including a 25 percent tax credit on qualified food donations that they make to food banks, up to $5,000 per year. This measure reduces costs of operations and surpluses for local farmers, while also helping local families put food on their tables. Further, the state budget allocates funding to help dairy producers protect water quality at their farming facilities.

To learn more about our local farms and see all of the terrific products they offer, here’s a list of weekly farmers markets throughout our region:

  • Bayberry Plaza Farmers Market, 7608 Oswego Road, Liverpool, Wednesdays, 8 a.m.- 3 p.m., May 3 – Oct. 25
  • Central NY Regional Market, 2100 Park St., Syracuse, Saturdays, Sundays and Thursdays, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., May 1 – Nov. 1
  • Downtown Syracuse Farmers Market, 100 Clinton Square, Syracuse, Tuesdays, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., June 13 – Oct. 10
  • Fayetteville Farmers Market, Fayetteville Town Center, 504 Burdick St., Fayetteville, Thursdays, 12 – 6 p.m., May 18 – Oct. 12
  • Cicero Farmers Market, NOPL at Cicero Library, 8686 Knowledge Lane, Cicero, Tuesdays, 3 – 7 p.m., May 26 – Sept. 8
  • Syracuse Eastside Neighborhood Farmers Market, 826 Euclid Ave, Syracuse, Wednesdays, 2 – 6 p.m., June – October

I’ll always stand up for farmers and fight to strengthen New York’s agriculture industry. Agriculture is the backbone of our state and our support ensures that they can continue providing invaluable products to New York families. As always, my door is open. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about local farmers markets or another community issue at315-452-1115 or StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.

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