Local businesses recognizing growing number of consumers wanting local food

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Wednesday is National Food Day, and to mark the occasion, the Mohawk Valley Food Action Network released the results of an 18 month research project about our local food system.

The project took a look at the local food system from production to processing, distribution, consumption and even post-consumption waste and those behind the research project say they hope the results help determine what is working and what is not.

"We want to increase the profitability of our region's farms," said Ron Bunce of Cornell Cooperative Extension. "We would like to be able to connect more of our farmers to to local consumers. We would like to be working with our farmers to connect them to local retailers, as well as restaurants. We'd also like to look at health outcomes. The way that our community eats, which includes how we're serving foods in our institutions and our school systems."

Bunce says that while people may get used to using, say, tomatoes in a can, easier is not always better and many area businesses are starting to realizing that.

"A lot of our restaurants are starting to recognize an enormous potential for a growing market, which is a consumer that is very interested in and engaged in knowing where their food came from and also wanting to be sure that food was grown locally," Bunce said. "So I think restaurant owners are starting to see this market open up."

The event, titled "Setting our Own Table" was held at the Smith Center for Advocacy on Genesee Street in Utica.

For more on the Mohawk Valley Food Action Network, you can visit their website.

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