Grant will fund project in Orleans with youth growing produce for local pantries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 April 2021 at 1:56 pm

KNOWLESVILLE – The Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County has been awarded a $12,862 grant for a project where local youth grow produce for food pantries.

The grant will use $10,000 to reimburse youth who grow the produce and donate it to local pantries. They will receive the market value of the produce.

“We’re hammering out details and will kick it off in May/June,” said Robert Batt, CCE director in Orleans County. “It’s a really cool project and something I hope we can maintain work on beyond this initial funding.”

The grant was announced today by the State Department of Agriculture & Markets. It is among $150,000 awarded for projects in the nine-county area that makes up the Genesee Valley.

The funding, which was approved by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority in collaboration with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, will support critical education, workforce development, and marketing and promotion initiatives, said Richard Ball, the state’s agriculture commissioner.

A portion of the funding, more than $50,000, will support projects that engage Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in agriculture, providing hands-on workforce training opportunities at local farms and farmers’ markets.

“Congratulations to the all of today’s award recipients,” Ball said in a news release. “They have developed creative and exciting projects that will help move the agricultural industry forward.”

The following entities were awarded funding to help engage New York’s BIPOC communities in agriculture:

  • The Vineyard Farms, Inc., $15,000 – This project will train 12 young people, ages 10-18, to participate in the Youth Organic Farming & Farmers’ Market Training Program. Participants will learn the principles of organic farming in a greenhouse to maximize the yield of fresh fruits and vegetables through year-round production. They will also receive training in urban and sustainable farming and general business principles that will lay the foundation for a career in the agricultural industry. Participants will learn marketing techniques to operate an on-site farmers’ market to sell and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables. The project will also help address food access in an underserved area.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension in Monroe County, $14,750 – This project will support the Landscape Technicians’ Training Program, which is a 120-hour, six-week training program in the field of horticulture. Students learn basic horticultural knowledge and are introduced to the many resulting possible career paths. Students also receive their 10-hour OSHA Construction Safety certification. The goal of the program is for all students to gain immediate employment upon completion of the program.
  • Green Visions, $15,000 – This project will support Green Visions, which provides supervised workforce experience, job certifications and career development training to 15 young people, ages 17-24, in industries such as agriculture and food processing. Participants will install, maintain, and harvest cut-flower gardens on former vacant city lots in Rochester. Arrangements will be sold through Wegmans stores and at the Rochester Public Market, giving participants experience in production, sales, and marketing.
  • Westside Farmers Market (WFM), $10,000 – This project will launch a pilot program to connect local farmers, including BIPOC farmers, to the WFM. The project goals include having new vendors at the WFM during the 2021 season and to help build small BIPOC-owned farms and connect them with farmers’ markets.
  • Food for the Spirit, $15,000 – This project will engage 5 Black farmers from the Genesee Valley and create a marketing campaign featuring Black farmers in the region. It builds on a collaborative effort to develop a New York State Black farmers marketing co-op.

In addition, the following projects were awarded funding for the promotion and marketing of New York agricultural products and programs, and agricultural education:

  • NY Kitchen (NY Wine & Culinary Center), $15,000 – This project will support and promote hands-on cooking, craft beverage and agricultural education at the NY Wine and Culinary Center, including their 100% New York State Tasting Room.
  • Finger Lakes Wine Alliance (FLWA), $15,000 – This project will support the updating of strategic marketing content through photography used to improve websites, print material for distribution, social media advertising, etc., brochure redevelopment, and website upgrades and updates.
  • CCE – Orleans County, $12,862 – This project will increase the capacity for youth to engage in agriculture and the food system in a meaningful and economically successful way that encourages engagement in agricultural careers and increases community connection to the food system.
  • CCE – Yates & Steuben Counties, $15,000 – This project will support the creation of a professional video promoting Keuka Lake wine history, viticulture, and enology, which will be provided to winery owners who may not have funds to support their own promotional videos. Video will be shared on social media and the websites of Tourism Promotional Agencies and CCE Extensions.
  • Marcus Whitman High School, $15,000 – This project will support the construction of an on-campus maple syrup sugarhouse, allowing students to learn about the maple syrup industry, food processing, and on-farm work skills.
  • Bishop Kearney High School, $15,000 – This project will continue to enhance the high school’s horticulture and agriculture program through a partnership with CCE. Through CCE, students will develop cultivation and harvesting skills and increase their knowledge about organic gardening, natural resources, nutrition, and the impact we all have on our environment.

For more information on the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, click here.