The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Partner Spotlight: NYS Grown and Certified
In August 2016 New York State launched the NYS Grown & Certified (G&C) program. G&C is the first statewide, multi-faceted food certification program designed to strengthen consumer confidence in New York products, address food product labeling, and assist New York farmers so they can take advantage of the growing market demand for foods which are locally grown and produced to a higher standard. Todd Erling, Executive Director of HVADC, serves on the Branding and Marketing Workgroup of the Governor’s Safe and Healthy Foods Advisory Committee, which provides input and guidance to the G&C program.
G&C identifies and promotes New York food growers and producers adhering to New York’s food safety and environmental sustainability programs—Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) plans-- and assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced at that higher-standard established by these certifications. Participants are identified through the use of a G&C product label seal, and will be included in the program’s marketing outreach.
To assist farmers in achieving G&C status, New York State is offering grants for capital projects that will enable eligible agricultural producers to meet food safety standards necessary for participation in the program. Eligible agricultural producers can apply for up to 90% of their total project cost, not to exceed $50,000. They must also provide at least 10% of the total project cost as matching support, and the match can include cash, loans or grants. There is $425,000 per region available to producers.
Food producers interested in participating in the G&C program must apply for funds through an administrator within their Regional Economic Development Council (REDC). For the Capital District REDC, HVADC has partnered with the Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation & Development Council (HMRCD) and will be offering applications for the funding fall 2018. In addition, HVADC and HMRCD have created a one-stop-shop for farmers interested in pursuing certification through the G&C process. HVADC and HMRCD will help farmers apply for state funds for capital improvements related to food safety, identify sources of financing and provide access to technical assistance. Producers are encouraged to visit https://www.hvadc.org/grown-certified to learn about the certification process and details on the grant program.
“The Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development Council is pleased to be partnering with HVADC to provide opportunities for producers in the Capital Region to become NYS Grown and Certified,” said Donna Murray, Executive Chairperson of HMRCD. “We feel that the G&C designation can be a real boost for those who adhere to the best practices, and have seen research results which show that the label builds on the already positive perception that New Yorkers have of our state’s produce, with 74% saying that they would buy more, 49% saying thay would pay more for food products bearing this label, and 96% indicating that they would favor food bearing the G&C seal,” she continued
Growers in the Mid-Hudson region, (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester) interested in participating, should contact Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County.
“This program has been built on the existing good reputation that New York growers and producers already enjoy and creates a solid, visible platform to showcase that work,” said Todd Erling, Executive Director of HVADC. “Partcipants will gain visibility through a state funded marketing campaign revolving around Grown & Certified directed at restaurants, institutional buyers and retail consumers, as well as being to feature the program label and be included on the website,” he continued.
Food producers interested in learning more about the G&C program are encouraged to contact HVADC staff at 518-432-5360 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hvadc.org/nys-grown-and-certified to learn more about applying through HVADC or which regional designee they should contact.
Photo source: HVADC
Logo Source: Grown & Certified