New York is home to some of the nation’s highest levels of agricultural production.
But, as the number of farms across the state has grown, the number and variety of produce grown in the area has decreased.
With a growing number of growers, there’s also less room for local produce to be sold locally.
That’s a challenge that’s been compounded by Niagara County’s recent development.
“Niagara county produces about two-thirds of the world’s fresh produce,” says Michael Kornell, a certified organic farmer in the town of Oceanside, N.Y. “We’re one of just a handful of counties in the country that’s producing a lot of it.”
Kornelle, who runs the Oceansidie Farms organic farm, has been growing fresh produce in Niagara County for almost 20 years.
“We started this farm back in 2009,” he says.
“It was just a really nice little farm in the middle of nowhere, but the market wasn’t there.
Then, a couple of years ago, there was a huge market in New York City, and the market started to open up, and we started to grow more of our own produce.”
In the beginning, the market was really limited to a handful [of] farmers who would come in here and sell their produce to other people.
That was really it.
And then we started expanding our business, and I guess the demand for our produce has really increased.
“The county has grown in population over the past 20 years from 5,000 to about 17,000 people, but it’s been shrinking its produce production.
With more than 5,800 acres of farmland and about 4,400 farms, Niagara County produces more than 60 percent of the fruits and vegetables grown in New Jersey, according to a 2015 report from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.”
A lot of people don’t realize that there are around 30,000 acres of land that are under cultivation in the county,” Kornel says.
The demand for organic produce has also increased. “
With the new market, I’m able to produce a lot more produce,” he adds.
The demand for organic produce has also increased.
The number of organic farms in New England has doubled since 2015.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
We’re not getting all the good things that the consumer wants from organic,” Korkell says.
But for Kornells farm, it’s not just a case of good things happening to the local farmer’s market.
In recent years, the farm has also had a lot to do with growing local produce in New Zealand.
“The local market has been very important to us,” he explains.
“I think it’s just been a really good thing for us, and now it’s really important for New York.”
In 2018, Kornelli’s farm sold about 50 tons of organic produce to a New York State Cooperative Extension program.
“They had a really great time with it,” he recalls.
“In terms of the amount of produce that we sold, they’re very pleased.
I think the fact that they had a positive response from them is a good thing.
It just shows that people want to buy organic produce.”
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, there are more than 500,000 organic farms and more than 400,000 certified organic farms.
“This is the most significant increase in organic production we’ve seen in 30 years,” Karnell says of the market in Niagara county.
The U.K.’s Department for Food and Rural Affairs recently published a report on the “Global Trends in Fresh Produce and the Future of Food in the 21st Century,” where they found that the number 1 producer in the U and Europe is the U of A. “Over the past decade, the U U. of A.’s production of fresh produce has more than tripled to more than 10 million metric tons,” according to the report.
And, “the U. S. is the world leader in fresh produce production with more than 4 million metric ton production per year.”
In 2016, New York state’s Department of Economic Development launched a “Fresh Produce for Everyone” program, which provided grants to farmers to improve their organic produce.
This year, Karnells farm received $20,000 from the program.
“The program is really going to support the farmer,” he continues.
“Our goal is to help them get more produce to the market.
The program is about getting more produce, so they can get more marketable produce, and that’s the key.
We don’t want to put people off organic.
That would be really bad.”
Kornells farmer is just one of many growers in Niagara counties, and many of them are growing organic.
“If we grow organic, then