New York State is fortunate to have a rich and diverse food and farm industry. Healthy agriculture and food systems are essential to the sustainability and prosperity of communities. Strong relationships between farmers and other local residents contribute to the vitality of agriculture and food systems and, in turn, the prosperity of communities. A growing number of municipalities, counties and regions recognize the ways in which a strong farm and food sector and vital communities mutually reinforce each other and the importance of building connections between the farm and food industry and other citizens. Seeing the potential for increasing individual and environmental health, building community, and developing economies, communities are building those connections in a variety of ways from food policy councils, farmland protection initiatives, and agricultural revolving loan funds, to community-wide agri-tourism and promotional campaigns, food-hubs, farm-to-institution programs, and farmers markets.
CaRDI supports communities that are exploring and implementing food and agriculture-based development initiatives through research-based information, shared learning opportunities, and the application of tools and resources.