The Queens County Farm Museum hosted a special reception for New York state policymakers and farmers on Thursday, Aug. 18. Organized by the Queens County Farm Museum and New York Farm Bureau, the event allowed farmers from upstate New York and Long Island to build connections with federal, state and city lawmakers.
The farmers who attended are part of New York City’s regional food system that provides access to local food. Many of the discussions at the event between the farmers and lawmakers related to food policy, sustainability and agricultural investment to best position the farms for the future. The farmers also brought along food and drinks for those in attendance to sample at their booths.
According to Lauri McBride of Wickham’s Fruit Farm on Long Island, this event does a lot to benefit both the farms represented as well as the constituencies for the policymakers. Working with local farms to provide produce is beneficial to the state’s economy.
“Our mission is to produce the choices of fruits and the freshest quality of produce and get it directly to the consumer,” McBride said. “These events are crucial to getting the word out of what agriculture is available in everybody’s backyard. It’s critical to us because it makes new connections with consumers and talk with legislators and to let people know what we need.”
This year marked the second annual event for the two parties to meet. According to David Fisher of the New York Farm Bureau, turnout this year is larger. He believes an event like this presents those in attendance with a great opportunity to create relationships and build upon previous relationships.
“This is a great opportunity for farmers to come down here and interact with people in the city, share some of the food that the farmers grow, have conversations and build bridges on what we can do together to help New York farmers,” Fisher said. “It’s a lot of work to get people together and get the products here. Getting to better understand each other I think is the biggest key here.”
As summer begins to come to a close, many of the farmers are preparing for the next harvest season. For most of them, the popular produce items during the fall include pumpkins, apple cider, cantaloupe and cabbage.
The partnership between state lawmakers and farmers proved very important during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to provide much-needed produce across the state during such a trying time. These partnerships have only grown bigger over the last two years.
The Queens County Farm Museum is celebrating its 325th anniversary this year. It is one of the largest continually farmed sites in New York state.