The second annual Harvesting Opportunities in New York: Growing Local Food Economies and Protecting Farmland conference will be held on November 20 in downtown Albany.

The conference is put on by the American Farmland Trust.

Interest in the growth of local farm and food economies has never been higher, yet New York continues to lose the productive land that is the foundation of this entire system. Over the last 25 years, nearly half a million acres of farmland—the equivalent of 4,500 farms—has been lost to housing developments, shopping malls and big box stores. In fact, more than 80 percent of the fruits, vegetables and dairy products produced in New York are grown near urban areas and lie directly in the path of sprawling development.

But this situation is changing. People across New York are hard at work supporting local farms and saving local farmland. Townspeople are hammering out zoning regulations that steer development away from the best farmland and do not inhibit entrepreneurial farmers. More colleges, senior centers and other community institutions are seeking out locally grown food. And land trusts, private landowners and others are making land available to young farmers, immigrants, veterans and other farmers looking to expand their farm businesses.

Harvesting Opportunities in New York is a conference for people who care about New York agriculture and want to work together to grow local food economies, protect farmland from development and support the next generation of farmers. Conference participants will include: farmers, public officials from all levels of government, land trusts, local foods and public health leaders, local food advocates, institutional food-service managers, agricultural organizations and concerned citizens.

Discounted registration for the conference is available to a limited number of beginning farmers and students. For more information about the beginning farmer/student discount, e-mail newyork@farmland.org or call  (518) 581-0078.

The day-long conference will be held on Wednesday, November 20, at the Hilton Albany, located at 40 Lodge St. in downtown Albany. The morning program features keynote speaker Andrew McElwaine, President of American Farmland Trust, followed by 12 concurrent workshops.

Workshop topics include:

*   Real World Success in Connecting Local Food & Public Health
*   Emerging Models of Farmland Affordability
*   Planning for Locally Produced Beer, Wine & Spirits
*   Engaging the Public in Saving Farmland
*   Bringing Locally Grown Food to the College Campus
*   Growing Opportunities for Farmland Conservation Funding
*   Land Access Strategies for the Next Generation of Farmers

For more information, visit the American Farmland Trust New York Website.

November Conference to Address Land Access in New York State
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