New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) today congratulated Southampton Town’s Flanders Farm Fresh Market Project and Amagansett’s Amber Waves Farm on recently awarded FreshConnect grants.
Assemblyman Thiele stated, “Many people don’t realize that Suffolk County is the number-one agriculture producing County in New York. Our East End farms and farmers are an integral part of our State’s economy. They are also a vital part of our local economy, heritage, and community character. I am pleased to see that two local, innovative projects have been recognized as leaders and will be able to expand their efforts in increasing access to healthful, local produce.”
The FreshConnect program is administered through a partnership between the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Empire State Development, and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. FreshConnect grants seek to support creative solutions to get New York farm products to underserved areas of the State, creating new economic opportunities for our farmers while, at the same time, providing healthy options for more New Yorkers.
Almost 1.5 million New Yorkers live in areas with limited supermarket access. Expanding access to fresh food in underserved communities has been shown to both improve nutrition and lower costs related to obesity and diet-related disease, while also fostering community and economic development. Governor Cuomo launched the FreshConnect program last year to create new farmers' markets and support existing markets that provided fresh produce to high-need areas. The Governor expanded the FreshConnect Program this year to support not only farmers’ markets, but other creative solutions to improve access to fresh, locally produced food by low-income or underserved communities.
The following projects received funding:
Town of Southampton ($10,000)
The youth-run Flanders Farm Fresh Food Market Project buys only from Southampton farmers. Entering its second year of operation, the market is located in a town with no grocery store and held weekly at a senior center on the main bus line.
Amber Waves Farm, Amagansett ($10,000)
A project that will encourage local organic farmers to sell surplus produce to Long Island Cares, the local food bank, which in turn will make more organic produce available to low-income families throughout Long Island.