What is the best use of our region’s agricultural land, and land that could be brought back into agriculture? We know that we have a lot of good grazing land. With the great consumer demand for small farm and grass-fed meat, we are investigating the prospects of raising more beef, along with other protein such as pork, lamb, and goats.
Where are there opportunities for farmers in the local market? What kinds of product do restaurants want, and how do they need fresh local produce delivered? What are the challenges and opportunities for both buyers and producers to connect? These and many more questions are the types of issues we’ve been digging into in our marker research. Over the past six months we have been interviewing North Country producers to learn what is being grown and sold locally, where demand exceeds supply, and where there are opportunities for producers and buyers to connect.
To grow our local food system and our economy, the region’s existing farms may expand and new farm businesses may start. This means land! Access to affordable farmland is one of the great challenges facing new and beginner farmers, and also existing farm operations that want to expand. Happily, in our region land still considered affordable, and there are tools to make it even more so.