American Farmland Trust Conference in Albany, NY on Nov. 4

The American Farmland Trust will be hosting Harvesting Opportunities in New York Conference on November 4th in Albany, NY.  The day long conference will include six different tracks including: Save Farms in Your Community, Buy Local, Keep Farmers on the Land, Agricultural Stewardship in a Changing Climate, Spread the Word, and Local Agriculture and Land Use Leadership Institute. For more information about this event, please see their website and RSPV soon.  Below is information regarding topics covered at the conference.

“This conference is for people who care about New York agriculture and want to work together to grow local food economies, protect farmland from development, promote environmental stewardship on farms and support the next generation of farmers. Conference participants will include: farmers, public officials from all levels of government, land trusts, local food and public health leaders, institutional food-service managers, agricultural organizations, environmentalists, conservation professionals and concerned citizens.”

Conference tracks will include the following. Click on the name of each track for more detailed explanations of the topics covered and a list of scheduled presenters.

Track 1: Save Farms in Your Community

  • Farming in the City & the Country: Land, Economics, & Public Benefit
  • Growing Resources for Farmland Conservation Funding
  • Eminent Domain: Strengthening Protections for Farmland in Your Community

Track 2: Buy Local

  • Farm to College: Value Chain Collaboration from Farmer to Student
  • Food Hubs: Building the Supply Chain
  • Farm to School: Bringing Local to the Lunchroom

Track 3: Keep Farmers on the Land

  • Increasing Farmer Access to Publicly Owned Farmland
  • Investing in Helping Farmers Find a Farm
  • Using Agricultural Conservation Easements to Aid Farmers in Securing Land

Track 4: Agricultural Stewardship in a Changing Climate

  • Climate Change and New York Agriculture
  • Improving Soil Health to Increase Farmers’ Productivity and Resilience
  • Alternative Perspectives on Agriculture, Local Food and Climate Change

Track 5: Spread the Word

  • Communicating About Agriculture with Non-Farming Audiences
  • Telling Stories to Promote Agriculture & Local Food Part 1
  • Telling Stories to Promote Agriculture & Local Food Part 2

Track 6: Local Agriculture and Land Use Leadership Institute

  • Leadership Competencies: What’s Really Important?
  • Connecting Land Use Planning, Farmland Protection & Agricultural Economic Development
  • Identifying Productive Farmland in Your Community

Even though interest in growing the farm and food economy in New York has never been higher, there are major challenges facing agriculture in New York. Over the last 25 years nearly half a million acres of farmland, the equivalent of 4,500 farms, has been lost to housing developments, shopping malls and big box stores. And, with nearly 30 percent of farmers in New York over age 65, there is an important need to help farm families plan for transferring their farms and the next generation of farmers find a farm in New York. All of this is further complicated by severe weather and challenges in adapting our farm and food system to a changing climate.