Monday, April 4, 2011

focusing on the regional food shed.

 When studio resumed after spring break our group goal for the intermittent review was to have a set of four interviews from farmers that was feasible for us to cover as main components of a food shed; agricultural production and dairy processing/distribution. 
(Image to be produced)
While there are many more components to a food shed we chose these because this is where previous semesters work within the studio has been heading towards. To clarify this remark other graduate and under graduate students from previous semesters have completed work on food sheds with topics such as production/distribution for local and imported apples and apple based products, milk production and distribution and general food shed delineation.
Our group arranged interviews with four farms that have dug deep roots into the Central New York community. Bob Evans- the yogurt and milk creator, Guy Vasta- the muck/onion farmer, Pete Holmes- the dairy cattle farmer, and Tony Emmi the crop farmer.
While I attended three of the four meetings when it came down to it I had decided to tackle Tony Emmi's farms' narrative.

Tony Emmi has had the farm in his family for three generations. HIs grandfather, after world war two went to farmers in the Liverpool Ny area and acted as a distributor for the farmer until he bought a 60 acre farm in Liverpool. In 1961, the grandsons Tony and Joe bought a 312 acre farm just east of Baldwinsville.

  The food distribution is now handled by a fellow in Kings Ferry Florida. This man acts as a broker between farmer and markets setting up long term shipping schedules. He also acts as a book keeper for several other farms including Emmi’s. His father complains that he is doing too much administrative work opposed to hands on farming this is justified by finally becoming GAP certified, a stack of papers collected over three years that will open up doors to new markets. The administrative work is also ensuring that the farm stays in business. Workers in Canada, while getting a lower wage also pay lower prices for basic necessities and commodities. The farm strives to make the work environment a desired place to be an employee. On site housing 
and a recreation area close to the germination sheds and farm fields are 
some benefits that are offered.

On the regional scale he is a wholesaler to the Upstate Growers Association. Where his food, specifically peppers, reach the Ithica Co-op and Boston, Massachusetts. Emmi operates on a rural neighborhood sale as well .He owns and operates two direct from farm to consumer stands and besides selling his produce he also sell Amish jelly which is transported from Ohio by a man who lives in Kentucky. On the county scale he sells to the regional market. A requirement of leasing a loading bay at the CNY regional market is to have a required farmer’s food stand. He says that he does not
feature his produce there that often considering he already sells his
harvest to other markets. 

The 312 acre farm outside of Baldwinsville grows berries, bell peppers, cabbage, orchard fruit, and soon soy beans to produce four million pounds of produce annually. The site in Liverpool NY is too far away to grow anything to time intensive, so the farm uses this land to cultivate rye in the fall and seasonal squash during the winter. This is then distributed to markets such as the CNY regional market, two owned and operated co-operative stands, as well as to local supermarkets such as Wegmans. The farm is starting to expand its horizons by growing beans to be sent to out to local canneries. A current industry trend that the Emmi farm is implementing is tagging the harvested product with barcodes to document what field the crop was grown on, how much water it has received during the season, to when it was harvested and placed on a truck. 

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