(Albany, NY) - The New York State Senate passed a bill (S1030/A2425), sponsored by Senator José M. Serrano, designed to attract New York residents and tourists to the States' farms and farmers' markets. Through the bill, New York farms and farmers' markets will be promoted as part of the "I Love New York" tourism campaign, thereby making the people of New York aware of the available healthy food options across New York State.
"Just as farmers cultivate fresh fare for our families, it is our job as legislators to cultivate public awareness of where these healthy foods are available," said Serrano.
The Serrano bill requires the Commissioner of Economic Development, in cooperation with the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, to promote and distribute statewide and regional guides to farms, farmers' markets, and other agriculturally significant tourist destinations.
As marketing efforts can often prove difficult for farm families and the non-profit sponsors of farmers' markets in the state, this legislation will allow New York State farmers to promote their markets and farms as part of the "I Love New York" tourism campaign.
Through the bill, the benefits from agricultural tourism and retail food sales will not only impact agricultural enterprises, but also the communities in which they exist. These include urban neighborhoods, like Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx, that enjoy successful farmers' markets.
"The farmers will benefit, but on a larger scale so will their communities," said Senator Serrano. "In my own district there is a pressing need for healthier food options. This legislation will help increase access to healthy fresh food for all New Yorkers, and will help us to combat serious health problems such as diabetes and obesity."
With the bill having passed the New York State Senate, it is now referred to the New York State Assembly for a vote, where it is sponsored by Assemblymember Vivian Cook.