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Cornell Cooperative Extension gets $96,000 to increase local food options

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Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in Jefferson and Lewis counties recently received a $95,883 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase local residents’ access to locally produced foods.

Amanda R. Root, nutrition resource educator, said the funds will target “food deserts,” which are areas that do not have a retail establishment where people can purchase food within 10 miles.

“We hope to increase farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture initiatives so it allows consumers other avenues to purchase food and connect with local farmers,” she said. “This fits in very well with our initiatives of nutrition and agriculture. Our mission is education with consumers and farmers, and this will continue that.”

This is the first time such a grant has been awarded to both extension offices.

Mrs. Root said representatives from both offices have yet to map out which communities in Jefferson and Lewis counties will benefit from this program, but said its central focus will be in Lewis County. She said someone will be hired by month’s end to work with producers to come up with a plan.

“We will be getting information out on training available and letting people know more as the work moves forward,” she said.

All funds will be utilized before September 2014.

For more information contact Mrs. Root at 788-8450, ext. 273, or via email at arr27@cornell.edu.

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