The New York Times recently published a piece describing the kinds of regulations under which farmers and small businesses work. It sparked conversations about which regulations are necessary and appropriate, and which create unnecessary burdens.

We hear from local and regional farmers. Our guests:

Is New York State spending enough on food from local farms? A new report from the New York Academy of Medicine and the American Farmland Trust says the state can do more. Four years after Governor Cuomo passed the Food Metrics Law to encourage state institutions to buy fresh food from farmers, it isn’t clear how much the state is actually spending on local foods. The report estimates the number could be about 10 percent, but it recommends an increase in spending to 25 percent. The groups say purchasing local food could increase the state’s economic output and improve the health and wellness of many New Yorkers, especially those who are food insecure.

We discuss if that goal is realistic, the challenges local farmers face why trying to meet institutional needs, and projections for New York’s food future. Our guests:

Two new studies offer more details about organic food is, and what it is not. So is it worth spending more money on organic produce? What is the certification process for organic growing? What are the evidence-based health benefits? Why is Wegmans so supportive of organic? We discuss this with our panel:

Jane Andrews, Wegmans nutrition and product labeling manager
Denis Lepel, Lakestone Family Farm
Todd Lighthouse, Lighthouse Gardens
Anne Ruflin, Executive Director of the Northeastern Organic Farming Association of New York 

What are the impact of farmer's markets in our region. Many have sprung up recently, allowing farmers to sell their goods across the region. We brought in a bushel of guests to talk about the markets in our region, including:

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Western New York is being invaded by a large army....of small insects.

A storm system from the south blew a large number of insects commonly referred to as Armyworms to our area. The "invasion" is resulting in the rapid loss of fields and lawns.

Walter Nelson is the Program Leader of Agriculture & Horticulture at Cornell Cooperative Extension Monroe County. He tells WXXI's LeShea Agnew that Western New York hasn't seen an invasion of this magnitude in years.