The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced $1.2 million in grants for 51 “agri-tourism” projects throughout the state Thursday, including 11 projects in the Capital Region totaling $174,221.
“These agri-tourism grants are meant to promote and increase the awareness of agriculture in our rural communities and our farm communities and to help increase the amount of visitors that are coming to these areas,” Agriculture and Markets spokeswoman Jessica Chittenden said.
The grants awarded locally include:
* $50,000 for the New York State Thruway Authority in Albany County for brochures to promote farmers markets at Thruway service plazas.
* $15,678 to an organization in Schenectady County called “Roots and Wisdom,” which promotes sustainable local food.
* $22,853 to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County for an “Agri-tourism Resource Guide.”
* $10,000 to the Harmony House Marketplace in Cohoes for its “Bountiful New York!” program, which includes 12 monthly seminars and four organized bus outings.
* $24,125 to MacClan Farms in Washington County, for a meet the farmer campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of eating local food.
* $5,938 to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Washington County for a cheese tour.
* $5,820 to the town of Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, for a farm country bike or ride tour program.
According to state officials, the agri-tourism grants provide up to $50,000 in matching funds for projects involving traditional agri-tourism activities, as well as new approaches to promoting New York food and agriculture. Eligible projects could include direct marketing efforts, educational venues, fairs and festivals, as well as lodging and dining venues.
“Tourism has become a popular and important component of the agricultural industry,” Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said in a news release. “Many consumers today have never visited a farm, nor understand where their food comes from. These grants will support agri-tourism opportunities that will enhance the awareness of agriculture and help connect farmers and consumers in an educational yet entertaining setting.”
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