The predominantly rural New York 23rd Congressional District, with its beautiful natural resources, rolling hills, family farms and vineyards, is the jewel of New York State. Its beauty and resources should be preserved. Each county faces its own particular challenges. But they share a common theme: the threat of pollution, fracking, and use as landfill or toxic dumps and incinerator plants for the garbage from downstate. A healthy environment benefits all residents of the District; and a healthy environment will attract tourism, which will benefit our local economy.
There are many ways in which we can strengthen the District’s rural economy. We should:
The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE-Tompkins) is a great resource for the District that is enormously helpful, and has even greater potential. It is unique among local organizations in offering a continuum of education and resources that enable it to address the food system in a holistic way. By working at a food-system level, it more effectively responds to cross-cutting needs such as food safety, food access, local agriculture and community infrastructure. It offers resources for farmers and consumers that help strengthen local and regional food systems.
Tompkins County has a vibrant and thriving Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) network that provides a living wage to employees, a decent living for farmers, and fresh healthy food for residents. And through its relationship with the CCE-Tompkins, the County also has a program called Healthy Food for All (HFFA) that addresses the needs of local low-income families by making fresh, quality produce accessible to them through CSA shares. In existence since 2006 and now ending hunger for close to 200 families, HFFA is recognized as one of our regions leading community food security programs. Win-win symbiotic relationship such as the one between ours CSAs and HFFA can be promoted throughout the District.