Thursday, March 31, 2016


A recently published study, found that weight gain among children who ate both breakfast at home and at school was no different than that seen among all other students. Meanwhile, the risk of obesity doubled for students who skipped breakfast or participated inconsistently. Researchers suggested several reasons for this outcome, including the fact that school breakfast is generally healthy, and students who skip breakfast are likely to overeat later in the day. And, of course, just the fact that growing adolescents often need a lot of food to grow means that they can eat more without necessarily gaining weight.

Source: NPR, 3/17/16, 2 Breakfasts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


A new federal initiative will make it easier for low-income children who receive Medicaid to get free or reduced-price meals at school automatically, with no application required. Expanding a project launched in 2012, USDA is now accepting applications from any state that wishes to use Medicaid data to automatically enroll children for free or reduced-price school meals.  Six states ― Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania already use Medicaid data to enroll children for free school meals; now they can use this data to enroll children for reduced-price meals. 

Source: Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, 3/17/16, Medicaid & School Meals

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


USDA’s annual look at food assistance programs shows the agency spent $104.1 billion in fiscal 2015 on its 15 domestic food and nutrition programs, about the same as in 2014. This was about 5% below the historical high of $109.2 billion set in FY 2013. SNAP accounted for 71% of all federal food assistance spending in FY 15. An average 45.8 million people per month participated in the program, 2% fewer than in FY 14. FY 2015 marked the second consecutive year that participation decreased, and only the third time in the last 15 years. About 8.0 million people per month participated in WIC in fiscal 2015, 3% less than FY 14. Daily participation in the National School Lunch Program averaged 30.5 million in FY 2015, about the same as the previous year. 65% of all participants received free meals, 7% received reduced-price meals, and 28% paid full price. An average of 14.0 million children participated in the School Breakfast Program each school day, 3% more than FY 14. 79% of all participants received free meals, 6% received reduced-price meals, and 15% paid full price.

Source: USDA, 3/16, Food Aid Trends

Monday, March 28, 2016


The House Budget Committee-approved budget plan would cut SNAP) by more than $150 billion—over 20%—over the next 10 years. The plan:

      Eliminates waivers for childless adults living in areas of high unemployment.
      Eliminates states’ option to use broad-based categorical eligibility, which helps households with gross incomes or assets are modestly above the federal SNAP limits but whose disposable income is below the poverty line, often because of high rent or child care costs. Several hundred thousand children in these families whose eligibility for free school meals is tied to their family’s receipt of SNAP would lose free school meals.
      Restricts states’ ability to reduce paperwork in determining SNAP benefit levels for households receiving LIHEAP benefits.  CBO has estimated this change would cut SNAP by about $10 billion over ten years
      Would convert SNAP into a block grant beginning in 2021 and cut funding steeply — by $125 billion (or almost 30%) between 2021 to 2026.  States would be left to decide whose benefits to reduce or terminate. 

Source: Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, 3/21/16, Budget Plan

To see how you can take action, go here

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Single mothers comprise more than 85% of welfare recipients, which is why child care support was a key focus of welfare reform legislation in 1996, which boosted federal funding for child care and streamlined it into the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the main source of funding states can use to provide child care subsidies for poor families.  The problem is that once welfare recipients get a toehold in the job market, they may end up losing child care help just as they are transitioning out of welfare.  And while CCDBG child care subsidies are supposed to help pick up the slack, only a tiny fraction of the children eligible for that help are getting it.  Research shows that access to child care help from the CCDBG program are at a 16-year low, with only 13% of all eligible children currently receiving child care assistance.

Source: Center for Law and Social Policy, 3/15/16, Child Care Subsidies

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Public assistance programs such as SNAP, the EITC, and housing subsidies tend to encourage recipients to get jobs, work more hours, and receive higher pay, according to a new report. It Pays to Work: Work Incentives and the Safety Net finds that workers in or near poverty benefit substantially from working additional hours or at higher wages, and that the vast majority face lower incomes if they don't work. The authors argue that increasing the minimum wage, fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, and expanding the EITC would all further encourage public benefit recipients to work.

Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/3/16,

Friday, March 25, 2016

Kids Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

The 5th Annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is currently underway! Kids 8-12 years old are invited to join a parent or guardian in creating an original MyPlate-inspired recipe that is healthy, creative, affordable and delicious. The recipe should follow MyPlate nutrition guidelines and this year, in celebration of the MyPlate, MyState initiative, it's encouraged that entries include local ingredients grown in your state, territory, and community.
The chef who created it, along with a parent or guardian, could win a trip to Washington, D.C.  to attend the 5th Annual Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House. Only one recipe from each of the 50 states (plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the 4 U.S. territories) will make the grade, so enter now!
Recipes must be submitted by April 4, 2016!

Learn more about the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge here.  
This would be a great opportunity for all of those North Country Junior Iron Chefs!

Today is International Waffle Day

Happy International Waffle Day everyone! 

Waffles are the best way to bring everyone together for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And what is the perfect waffle incomplete without? Locally made Maple Syrup, of course!

Here in the North Country we have lots of sugar houses to visit. We even have a Maple Weekend April 2nd and 3rd where different maple producers in the Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties host open houses and free activities between 10am and 4pm. 

The goal of Maple Weekend is “to educate the public about New York’s maple farming processes and traditions and to provide a chance to taste pure maple syrup in its many forms - right from the source.”

Want to test your Maple Syrup knowledge?

1. Syrup is done when it reaches what percentage sugar?

Source:  New York State Maple Producers Association

2. Each tablespoon of maple syrup provides about what percentage of the recommended daily amount of potassium?
·         6%
·         10%
·         18%
·         29%

Source:  USDA

3. Which has the most calories?  A quarter cup of:
·         Maple syrup
·         Honey
·         White sugar
·         Brown sugar

Source:  USDA

1: 66%
2: 10%
3: Honey

How’d you do? Think you could stand to learn a little bit more about Maple Syrup and the process that goes into making it? Great! We’ll see you on Maple Weekend. To find out more information about the weekend and what sugar houses are participating, visit .

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Call your member of Congress today!

Action Alert: Urge Your Member of Congress to Vote No on House Budget Resolution That Would Cut SNAP

The FY2017 Budget Resolution voted out of the House Budget Committee last week threatens severe budget cuts to essential federal programs serving low-income families and individuals and proposes to block grant SNAP (through a “State Flexibility Fund”). If enacted, these changes would mean more hunger and deeper poverty for very vulnerable people, including families with children, elderly people, and people with disabilities. 
Take Action Now: Urge your House Member to vote no when the budget resolution goes to the House floor, likely after spring recess.

Call your member's office through the US Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.
For those who are in St. Lawrence County, this would be Representative Elise Stefanik.  Her direct office number is (202) 225-4611
For more information from the Food Research and Action Center, go here.


A new plan offers a roadmap for the U.S. to reduce food waste by 20% within a decade while also creating thousands of jobs and could save consumers billions of dollars. The report from a nonprofit and corporate collaboration known as ReFED divides food waste solutions into three categories: prevention, recovery, and recycling. Proposed measures focus heavily on preventing food waste in the first place. For one, the report suggests food companies should adjust packaging to discourage waste. Portions should be smaller and packaging should be designed to prevent food from spoiling. Distributors should invest in technology to eliminate food waste during transport. Prevention methods would help save roughly $8 billion and prevent 2.6 million tons of food from being wasted.

Source: Time, 3/9/16, Food Waste

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

USDA Team Nutrition Training Grants Available

USDA's Team Nutrition initiative provides technical assistance, training, and nutrition education resources for schools and child care providers participating in USDA's child nutrition programs. Grants through this program are intended to conduct and evaluate training, nutrition education, and technical assistance activities to support the implementation of USDA nutrition standards for snacks and meals, like school breakfast. These grants can also be used to support farm to school! For example, in 2014 Montana was awarded a Team Nutrition Grant to build statewide support for nutrition education, school wellness policy implementation, and farm to school programs in school and child care environments. Learn more about the grants and apply here


he shopping experience for WIC participants should improve under a new USDA rule that requires states to transition from paper benefits to EBT systems by Oct. 1, 2020. The WIC EBT system replaces paper food checks or vouchers with a card that is used for food benefit issuance and redemption at authorized WIC stores. In 2016, Congress appropriated $220 million help state agencies fully fund the transition from paper benefits to EBT. The transition from paper benefits to EBT systems allows WIC participants to shop for items as needed rather than requiring them to purchase all items in one trip or lose the remaining benefits. Implementing EBT will also reduce checkout times and potential stigma associated with using food benefits. Additionally, WIC participants will no longer need to separate their WIC foods from their other grocery items.

Source: USDA, 2/29/16, WIC Rule

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


The number of SNAP recipients has fallen by 2.6 million people since peaking in December 2012, according to new USDA data. SNAP grew significantly between 2007 and 2011 due to the recession and lagging recovery; participation among those eligible also rose.  But SNAP caseload growth slowed substantially in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, and then, after peaking in December 2012, fell by about 2% in 2014 and another 2% in 2015. In more than 40 states, the number of SNAP participants was lower in December 2015 than in December 2012. Unfortunately, Connecticut was not one of these—caseloads here grew slightly between 2012 and 2015.

Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/3/16, SNAP Caseloads

Monday, March 21, 2016


The latest USDA figures show almost 6% of households—about 18 million people—are consistently not getting enough to eat. Another 30 million people have occasional problems feeding themselves. Altogether, roughly 48 million people or one in seven Americans go hungry at some point during the year. This number actually underestimates the problem because the survey excludes the homeless and transients; groups that almost by definition lack enough food.

Given America’s bounty why does hunger remain a problem? Poverty and lack of access to resources are two of the key forces defining hunger in the U.S.

The link between poverty and hunger is clear. Approximately 40% of families living below the federally mandated poverty rate in 2014 were hungry that year. Households with children, single parents and those living below the poverty line are at particular risk. Many Americans also lack access to healthy food, either because they live in urban areas that lack grocery stores, live in rural areas that are far from stores, or don’t have reliable transportation to stores

Source: The Conversation, 3/9/16, US Hunger

Saturday, March 19, 2016


A universal child allowance and an expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) would reduce the child poverty rate, according to a new report, Doing More for Our Children. The report notes that nearly 17% of children in the U.S. lived in poverty in 2013 and finds that a universal $2,500 per child allowance for families would cut that rate to 11.4%. The report argues that the investment necessary for such a policy -- about $110 billion per year -- is worth the dramatic reduction in child poverty.

Source: Century Foundation, 3/16/16, Child Allowance

Friday, March 18, 2016


The House Republican budget unveiled this week that, in addition to repealing Obamacare, seeks to balance federal spending over 10 years by cutting assistance to the poor while boosting defense spending. It reprises many of the safety net cuts House Speaker Paul Ryan proposed in previous years. This budget would cut SNAP and Medicaid in two ways. As Ryan proposed in previous years’ budgets, Tuesday’s proposal would turn funding for SNAP and Medicaid into “block grants.” It would also significantly cut SNAP and Medicaid budgets. Though the budget summary doesn’t specify exactly how much it would cut SNAP, it calls for $1 trillion less in mandatory spending outside of health and retirement programs — a category in which SNAP is the largest program — over the next 10 years. Ryan’s budget last year called for cutting over $137 billion from SNAP, or 18%.

Source:  Huffington Post, 3/17/16, Budget Proposal

Thursday, March 17, 2016

USDA Launches Online MyPlate, MyWins Challenge

In honor of National Nutrition Month, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched the MyPlate, MyWins Challenge which encourages people to make small, easy changes – MyWins – to their eating and activity habits, and to build on their wins over time to achieve a healthier lifestyle. With the MyPlate, MyWins Challenge, people can join or form a team online, then challenge team mates – friends, family, co-workers – to consume two foods from each of the MyPlate food groups a day and be active two times a day for two days. The challenge days are chosen by the team.

The challenge is part of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion's (CNPP) new MyPlate, MyWins consumer education initiative, grounded in the most recent edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Concurrent with the challenge, CNPP is launching a MyPlate, MyWins video series combining information with inspirational stories from American families, as part of the overall effort to help people find healthy eating solutions and develop a personalized healthy eating style that fits within their overall lifestyle. Throughout the year, CNPP will continue to add more videos to the series.

How the MyPlate, MyWins Challenge Works

The MyPlate, MyWins Challenge is available to the public through CNPP's SuperTracker, a free, interactive food and physical activity tracking tool. There, anyone can create a group and invite others to join. Participants earn points for eating healthy foods and being physically active, and can compare their progress to others in the group. Group leaders can send messages of encouragement, cheer on members to earn more points, and compare progress amongst the participants. They can also choose from other ready-made challenges or design their own custom challenge specifically for their group. Later this month, CNPP nutritionists will host two-day MyPlate, MyWins Challenges for the public.

Find more information about MyPlate, MyWins challenges and videos at

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools

Get Ready for Nutrition Education in Lunchrooms!
Over $250,000 available to schools for lunchroom learning programs
If you’re a parent, guardian, teacher or lunch lady, you know that it’s not always easy convincing kids to eat their vegetables and fruits. USDA school food standards require a serving of fruit or vegetables on every school lunch tray. But what happens when students won’t eat it?

Nutrition education that includes samplings of fresh fruits and vegetables helps kids accept and enjoy the foods that are key for good health. That's why we've created
 Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools, to help schools increase kids' access to fresh fruits and vegetables and provide nutrition education through fun lunchroom learning activities.
"Grants like this really help support doing something different, and forced us to think outside the box. Project Produce gave us the opportunity to have meaningful food experiences with kids and allowed food service to become an extension to education," reports Shelly Allen, Food Service Director from St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado. Read about the incredible impact the program had at St. Vrain Valley Schools here.
About the Program
Project Produce is a grant program designed to help create experiential nutrition education when and where students make their food choices: in the cafeteria. The $2,500 one-year grants support food costs to incorporate school-wide fruit and vegetable tastings into the school's nutrition program.
  • Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible to apply
  • Districts may apply for grants for up to 10 schools
  • There is no deadline and grants will be administered on a rolling basis
  • Read this article for helpful application tips
For more information and to submit your application, please visit:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Food bank grants for local programs

The Food Bank of Central New York has various grant programs that can support local food pantries and free will dinners.  Grant applications and instructions are available online at their website (not on e-agency) and are due back to the Food Bank by April 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm. To request a hard copy, please contact your Food Bank county representative.

Monday, March 14, 2016

CSA Bonus Bucks program opens for 2016

The GardenShare CSA Bonus Bucks application is ready to be filled out for the 2016 season! You can download it at or request one through mail by calling GardenShare at 315-261-8054. Have you wanted to invest in a community supported agriculture (CSA) share but always felt it to be a bit outside your budget? Bonus Bucks could be the solution you're looking for! This program allows recipients to purchase their share at a reduced price, courtesy of grants and donations. To see if you qualify based on income guidelines, visit the website or take a look at the guidelines box on the front side of the application.

CSA uses a pay-forward model that allows the consumer and farmer to share in the bounty if a harvest is plentiful, and to bear the deficit together if a season is unfruitful. This provides a financial security net for the grower. The North Country offers a wide selection of CSA farms to choose from, each offering shares that are a bit different in the variety they offer. If you're looking for a share large enough to feed the entire family, pick a share from any of the participating farms, such as the Family Share from Birdsfoot Farm or Whitten Family Farm. If you'd rather get a share to supplement your diet during the cold season, choose the Winter Share from Kent Family Growers or the Year Round Share from littleGrasse Foodworks. Not sure you'll be able to use all the food in your CSA? Pick the Half Share from Bittersweet Farm or the Partial Share from Fullers Farm.

Another thing to keep in mind is the pick-up locations offered by the CSA farm you are considering. Except for Kent Family Growers, all the participating farms allow shareholders to pick up their box right on site, providing the opportunity to get a firsthand look at how the food is produced. All farms besides Whitten Family Farm have pick-up locations in Canton, and aside from Bittersweet and littleGrasse, all offer shareholders a Potsdam pick-up option. Shares from Bittersweet can also be collected in Ogdensburg, Kent Family Growers shares from Madrid, and Whitten Family Farm shares from Massena. Now’s the time to sign up for any type of CSA share, so don’t hesitate to send in your Bonus Bucks forms!

North Country Junior Iron Chef

On Saturday, I took part in a judging panel for the 2016 North Country Junior Iron Chef competition.  Twenty-eight teams of middle and high school students from across the North Country took part with original recipes that incorporated both locally-grown foods and foods that schools get from the USDA commodities program.

I was awed and inspired by the students creativity, teamwork and the amazing dishes they created.  These students give me hope for a future where we grow more of our food locally and where everyone has access to and understanding of a healthy diet.

See some photos and read more in the Watertown Daily Times coverage of the event.  And all of the recipes will be online at soon!  I know I plan to try some of them at home, you may want to, also!


New Institutional Procurement Guide

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has released a new report, Instituting Change: An Overview of Institutional Food Procurement and Recommendations for Improvement. This report reviews the literature and key information resources regarding institutional food service procurement systems, presents the potential benefits of a largescale shift among institutional procurement policies, discusses some of the existing barriers to the adoption of policies that favor regionally and/or sustainably produced food, and provides recommendations and tools for influencing institutional food procurement practices. This report is intended to serve as a resource for those seeking a better understanding of institutional food service procurement policies and provide a rationale for working toward reform. Learn more here

Sunday, March 13, 2016

National Chicken Noodle Soup Day!

Happy National Chicken Noodle Soup Day everyone! Did you know that up here in the North Country you have access to locally, pasture-raised chicken? Make sure to look through GardenShare’s annual Local Food Guide as a place to find farms that sell chicken! There is also a list of farmers' markets, farm stands, U-pick orchards, restaurants, grocers, and other outlets that offer food raised in St. Lawrence County.

Here is an easy 30-minute recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 large carrots)
  • 1 cup celery, sliced thin (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 cup onion, peeled and diced small (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 64 ounces (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 12 ounces  your favorite noodles or pasta
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional
  • salt, to taste

  1. To a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken broth, pepper, and bring to a boil. Allow mixture to boil gently for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender.
  5. Add the noodles and boil mixture for about 10 minutes, or until noodles are soft and cooked through. At any time while making the soup, if the overall liquid level is lower than you like and you prefer more broth, adding a cup or two of water is okay. At the end you will adjust the salt level.
  6. Add the chicken, optional lemon juice (brightens up the flavor), and boil 1 to 2 minutes, or until chicken is warmed through. Taste soup and add salt to taste. I added about 1 tablespoon but this will vary based on how salty the brand of chicken broth used is, how salty the rotisserie chicken is, and personal preference.

This soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Source of the recipe:

Agricultural Literacy Week starts tomorrow

In celebration of New York agriculture, volunteers throughout the state will read a book with an agricultural theme to second graders. Students and teachers will also benefit from hands-on lessons and receive follow up activities. The book will be donated to the school or classroom library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and NY Agricultural Literacy Week. 2,000 books were donated last year while thousands of second graders participated in fun and educational activities.

The selected book for 2016 is The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This fun and exciting story shares the journey of Mr. Tiffin’s class on a field trip to an apple orchard. The students learn about every aspect of the farm from how apples are harvested, the process of making cider, and the many different varieties of apples. While the class picks their apples and experiences the farm, Mr. Tiffin gives them all a riddle to ponder. This book was selected as the 2015 American Farm Bureau Foundation for Education’s Book of the Year.
This year’s focus on apple production is exciting because of the importance of the apple industry in New York State, as we are ranked second nationally in production. Apples provide over 17,000 direct and indirect jobs, and there are over 680 apple producers on 55,000 acres across the state. Through the Agricultural Literacy Week program teachers, students, and parents can learn more about this nutritionally and economically healthy and essential industry. All lessons, activities, and companion materials are aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards.
More information at

Saturday, March 12, 2016


The Growing Farmers Initiative at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY holds beginning farmer workshops on Thursday afternoons. Workshops are free and open to the public.  To register and for more more info, visit the Virtual Grange.

Soils 101 | March 17 

Propagation | March 24

Soil Food WebsMarch 31

Soil Testing and Fertility ManagementApril 7

Botany | April 14 

Compost | April 21

Land Assessment | April 28


A 2 day intensive on March 19 and 20.  Poultry School is the place to be for learning a whole lot about running pastured poultry operations of any size. For more info check out the Virtual Grange.  Only a few tickets left – be sure to register soon to reserve a spot!

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Cost of Being a Low-Wage Worker

There is an enduring myth that people who rely on public assistance are unwilling to work. However, there are 41.2 million working Americans (nearly 30 percent of the workforce) who receive public assistance—and nearly half of these workers (19.3 million) have full-time jobs...Americans are working harder, more productively, and with more education than ever, but are treading water. Read more > from the Economic Policy Institute...

Cabin Fever Trivia Night results and thanks

Gloria thanks our host, Tony Lynn
GardenShare's annual "Cabin Fever Trivia Night" was held on March 3, 2016 and was a very successful fundraising event.  Thirteen teams of four took part in the event and answered questions about GardenShare, the region's colleges, farming, and beekeeping.  When we finished up that evening, almost $2,700 had been raised to support GardenShare's work to solve the problem of hunger in St. Lawrence County!

Winning team
The winning team represented St. Lawrence Health System, who was also one of the presenting sponsors.  Other presenting sponsors included North Country Savings Bank and Stauffer Farms.  Friend sponsors were Green Hammer Construction, Save-a-Lot and SeaComm.  Tony Lynn, morning show host at The Wolf 95.3 was the evening's Master of Ceremonies.

The amazing volunteer committee that organized this event demonstrated what it means to be part of a caring community, as did all the local farms and businesses who donated to make this event possible. It's great to be part of such a generous and caring community!

2nd place team representative
Thank you to all those farms and businesses who donate to the prize packages for the winning teams, including:  Bittersweet Farm, Blackbird Cafe, Canton Apples, Eight O’clock Ranch, Fullers Farm, Harmony Farm, Kent Family Growers, Kingston’s Roadside Stand, Laws Lumber, Martins Farmstand, Parishville Center Orchard, St. Lawrence Brewing, Smith Farm Chicken, Squeak Creek Apiaries, Sweetcore Farm, and Tupper Hilltop Maple Treats.

Thank you to all who donated food for the event, including:  Ashley House, Cabot Creamy Cooperative,
Cascade Diner, Freihoffer, Josie's Potsdam, Little Italy, McDuff's Pub, Potsdam Food Co-op, and Stewart Shops.

Funds raised will support GardenShare's work to solve the problem of hunger in St. Lawrence County.  GardenShare's annual Local Food Guide, farmers market promotion, and promotion of Community Supported Agriculture help ensure that the County has a vibrant, local food system where our food choices are healthy for us, for our communities, and for the environment and where local farmers are able to make a living that supports their families.   GardenShare also makes it possible for people to use food stamps at area Farmers Markets and helps low-income families buy CSA shares so that everyone in the County has access to enough nutritious and affordable food to sustain a healthy lifestyle.  

Red Hot Trivia Peppers -
Best Team Uniform
Turn Ups - best team name

2016 Food Tank Summit

April 20-21 // Washington, DC

Food Tank, in partnership with American University, is excited to announce the 2nd Annual Washington, D.C. Food Tank Summit. This two-day event will feature more than 70 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including; nourishing the planet, improving nutrient density, the future of organic, investing in the food movement, legislating change in the food system, and more. Learn more and register here

Thursday, March 10, 2016

SNAP: the facts

State Senators Ritchie and Griffo have each recently introduced bills that would place restrictions on the SNAP program.   I'd like to think that the people making our laws would be doing so after analyzing the facts of a situation, but in these two cases, it seems like the proposals are responding to the tired, old myths of who needs public assistance and how they use that assistance.
When it comes to SNAP, the facts are clear.  40% of SNAP households have someone who is employed, but not making enough to support his or her family.  Wouldn't our public officials time and energy be better used to find ways to help those families secure better jobs or earn more money than to limit their food choices?  If we could help that family earn more income, maybe they could get off from the SNAP program altogether!

And while working on employment issues is important, most SNAP benefits actually go to people that a civilized society does not expect to work.  76% of all SNAP benefits go to households with children; 12% of all SNAP goes to households with disabled persons; and 10% of SNAP benefits are distributed to households with seniors.  In 2016, in the United States of America, do we really expect our children and our seniors to go to work in order to have enough to eat?

Farm survey

The St. Lawrence County Planning Office is seeking input from the farming community on the development of its Ag Development Plan.  The County’s AFPB  would like to encourage farmers to complete the survey to identify issues that should be included in the plan to help strengthen and diversify the county’s agricultural industry.

*The survey will be available during the month of March.  * To complete the
survey please go to:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Senator Griffo proposes making things illegal that are already illegal

State Senator Joseph Griffo (R) has introduced legislation to address what he sees as flaws in the system.  Griffo's proposal states that SNAP funds cannot be used at liquor stores, casinos, strip clubs, and tobacco shops. It also says SNAP cannot be used for tattoos and bail and limits the amount of the SNAP benefit that can be withdrawn as cash.

The strange thing about this proposal is that the law already prohibits the use of SNAP for these things and SNAP benefits can never be withdrawn as cash.  Griffo spokesman Rocco LaDuca  actually acknowledged to WJLA in Washington that current laws prevent SNAP funds from being used on non-food items.  

Why would a legislator waste his time and the taxpayers' money to make something illegal when it's already illegal?