WXXI AM News

agriculture

Wegmans

Wegmans is experimenting with new, heartier produce, and new ways of growing it, on over 200 acres of organic farmland and orchards, and they plan to pass that knowledge on to local farmers.

On the top of a hill, on a plot overlooking Canandaigua Lake, Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard is growing 1800 cherry tomato plants. Some varieties are more popular than others.

Nate August, the farm's manager, pulls at a golf-ball sized Sakura tomato. He says customers haven't been wild about these bigger varieties. Turn out, people like tinier tomatoes.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

One recreation center in Rochester went on a field trip to better connect kids to the food they eat.

On a warm summer day, a group of kids from the Humboldt Recreation Center in Rochester hopped on a bus and drove 20 minutes out to the town of Rush, to spend the day learning about farm life and the hard work and processes that go into food production.

Something that co-owner of Stonecrop Farm, where the trip took place, Gregory Hartt believes should happen more.

http://www.rochesterroots.org/

Volunteers constructed a 75 foot by 120 foot garden with 30 raised beds at Lakeshore Elementary School in Greece, made possible by a grant from the USDA Community Food Projects Competitive Grants program.

The garden is part of a partnership with Rochester Roots, a local nonprofit that offers Sustainability Education and Entrepreneurship (SEE) programs.

Are environmental groups denying the real leading cause of the destruction of the planet? The makers of the film Cowspiracy say yes.

The local chapter of the Sierra Club is bringing in filmmaker Keegan Kuhn of Cowspiracy to talk about the role of animal agriculture in climate change. We talk to Kuhn, and we hear from others who are participating in a local event to focus on food, access, cost, and more. Our guests:

  • Keegan Kuhn, filmmaker
  • Peter Debes, chair of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club
  • Carly Fox, worker rights advocate

Dairy Farmers of America

ALBANY (AP) New York state is outpacing the U.S. as a whole when it comes to agricultural sales.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state's sales from items such as dairy, fruit, vegetables and poultry and eggs have risen 36 percent since 2010. The national increase over the same period was 32 percent.

The Democratic governor says the state is working to reduce red tape and encourage all aspects of the state's agricultural economy.

A new online magazine called Boomtown Table launched December 7. It covers food, agricultural issues, drink, and more.

We go inside the planning and the hopes for the future of this ambitious new site. Our guests:

  • Leah Stacy, co-founder and editor in chief  
  • Chuck Cerankosky, co-founder and creative director
  • Eric Houppert, agriculture editor 

Food processing using high pressure instead of heat is coming to the Finger Lakes.

Cornell University and State Senator Michael Nozzolio have announced a $600,000 state grant that will allow Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva to purchase and install a state-of-the-art “Hiperbaric High Pressure Processing” machine.

Dean of the Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Kathryn Boor, says the equipment will ensure food safety for consumers worldwide.

Photo: Lakeworther, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Malt barley is a temperamental little plant. It needs to be brought up in very specific conditions in order to yield a quality beer. Adverse weather can destroy entire harvests, like this past season in Idaho, where heavy rains took 80 percent of their crop.

That’s why Senator Schumer is pushing for insurance for New York malt barley farmers.

“There are just too many obstacles, risk, and cost standing in the way. And our job here will be to get federal crop insurance for malt barley here in New York state, and then malt barley will take off.”