Growing from Our Roots
Involving farms and farmers in economic development efforts was one of the 87 goals identified in the community visioning process in 1998. Syracuse has had a Downtown Farmers Market for more than 40 years, but it’s become bigger and more active in recent decades.
Since the visioning sessions Onondaga County has moved to preserve more farmland from development through conservation easements and planning efforts. The county also has launched several agricultural promotion efforts including the Onondaga Grown advertising campaign in 2015 to promote buying local produce. The pitch intensified with the Onondaga County Farmfest on Saturday Sept. 22, 2018. The festival offers tours of 11 host farms, including one of those right in Syracuse— the Brady farm. Most of the farms will have live music and be selling local produce. For directions to each of the farms, entertainment and products check the Onondaga Grown website.
The importance of agriculture in New York State’s economy comes home to Syracuse every year with arrival of the New York State Fair, which set attendance records in 2018. This big part of the economy has boomed in the region in particular sectors, notably dairy and grape and wine production. Last month the Finger Lakes region was designated the top wine region in the nation in a USA Today Readers Poll.
New York State ranks 27th in the nation in area, but is in the Top 5 states in the nation in production of 11 agricultural products, Top 2 for apples, cabbage, snap beans and maple syrup in 2016-17, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Many other achievements has been accomplished, not necessarily by FOCUS, but by Forging Our Community’s United Strength. To learn more about FOCUS, the 87 Goals and the 20 highlighted go to www.focussyracuse.org.