FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Max Dworin October 21, 2014 202‐224‐7433
Schumer Announces Fed Funding for Innovative Greene County Company – Field Goods
A NEW MODEL FOR GROWING LOCAL FOOD INDUSTRY, HELPING SMALL FARMERS CONNECT WITH CONSUMERS – PROVIDES HEALTHY LOCAL PRODUCE FROM YONKERS TO SARATOGA
Athens‐Based ‘Field Goods’ Provides Weekly Deliveries of Fresh Local Produce To Thousands of Individuals Throughout the Hudson Valley & Capital Region – Important New Way For Small Family Farms To Sell Product Without Too Many Middle Men
Schumer Tours Innovative Company & Announces It Has Received $50K Fed Grant From USDA to Develop Mobile Platform To Help Small Local Farmers Promote Products – Schumer Says Field Goods Is A New Model That Should Be Replicated Throughout The Region To Strengthen Connection Between Farmers & Consumers
Schumer: Fed Support of New Local Company Creates Opportunity for Area’s Farmers & Healthy Food Options for Families
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer visited Field Goods, an innovative Athens‐ based company that provides weekly deliveries of fresh produce from local Capital Region and Hudson Valley farms to individual consumers from Yonkers to Saratoga. Schumer said that this is an exciting new model that will help further grow the burgeoning Capital Region and Hudson Valley food industry, assist local farmers in selling their products and provide healthy food options for families throughout the region. Schumer noted that Field Goods’ innovative model has been recognized by the federal government and announced that Field Goods has received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will allow it to develop a mobile platform that will help small farmers promote their products and enhance the connection between farmers and consumers.
“Ensuring that small local farms are able to flourish and that the unique needs of New York agriculture are met is one of my top priorities, and Field Goods is an exciting new model for growing the local food industry. By connecting small farmers throughout the Capital Region and Hudson Valley with consumers from Yonkers to Saratoga, Field Goods is minimizing middle men, increasing profit, and providing families with healthy, locally‐grown food,” said Schumer. “This innovative model is worth growing and replicating throughout the state, and I am pleased that the federal government has recognized Field Goods’ potential. The federal funds that Field Goods just received will go a long way in enhancing the company’s impact and adding value for farmers across the region. As I travel throughout the state, I am continually impressed by the contributions our farmers make to rural communities and the tremendous positive impact they have on the economy. I will continue to advocate for this kind of funding, which aims to help our farmers innovate so that they may continue to thrive, grow, and create good‐paying local jobs.”
Schumer explained that Field Goods is a subscription‐based food delivery service located in Athens that acts as a lifeline for over 70 local farmers by providing them with a more direct connection to their consumers. Field Goods provides healthy produce to more than 2,000 consumers throughout the Hudson Valley and Capital Region, from Yonkers to Saratoga. Each week, subscribers to Field Goods receive a bag of fresh local produce, including locally farmed fresh fruits and vegetables, to their workplace or community pick‐up locations. These subscriptions cost approximately $20‐30 per week and the local produce is selected by Field Goods based on farmer supply, quality, and variety. During his visit, Schumer explained that this is a unique, innovative new model for small farmers because it allows them to provide Field Goods with the produce that has done particularly well throughout the season or goods for which they might have a surplus. According to Field Goods, this allows the farmer to use the system to their fullest advantage and allows the customer to be surprised by the bag of goods they receive each week. Customers also receive a newsletter with suggested recipes and uses for the produce.
Field Goods’ unique model increases efficiency for farmers by allowing them to deliver in large quantities of produce to one location. The Field Goods system of delivery allows the company to minimize the middlemen between the farm and the customer, and also allows small farms to meet the rapid growth for consumer demand. Schumer said the new model also provides smaller local farmers with a reliable stream of revenue during traditionally non‐growing seasons. Schumer explained that farmers are often financially strapped during winter months due to low turnout at farmers markets, which experience better attendance in the spring and summer months. This year‐round delivery service allows them to sell their produce to consumers year round and keep consistent profitability. Since it began deliveries in June 2011, Field Goods has purchased almost $1.5 million of produce from small farms.
During his visit, Schumer announced that Field Goods was awarded $50,000 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The funds were allocated through the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) from the Agriculture Marketing Service and will be used to develop a web and mobile platform, called In the FieldTM, that will allow small farmers to post product information and availability updates for consumers to view online. The new system will include a mobile app and the product listings including produce specifications, pricing, and the quantity of product available. The grant also includes funding to promote the new system to farmers and train them to use it to their fullest advantage. Schumer said that this grant will also help maintain Field Goods’ current workforce of 21 employees, three of which were hired through the Greene County ARC.
Schumer was joined by Donna Williams, Founder and President of Field Goods; Rene Van Schaack, Greene County IDA Director; Frank Alguire, Greene County Economic Developer; Lauren Jones, Jenny Parker, and Aliyah Brand, owners of the Ironwood Farm; Kenny Migliorelli, owner of the Migliorelli Farm; Dan McManus and Tess Parker, owners of the Common Hands farm; and Richard Guardi, owner of the Richard Guardi farm.
“We are so glad that Senator Schumer visited Greene County to see Field Goods in action, and to show his support for small farms and entrepreneurs in the Hudson Valley that do so much to make this area a great place to live, work and eat,” said Donna Williams, founder of Field Goods. “His track record of helping to grow New York State’s agricultural resources and his efforts to make the Hudson Valley a place where agri‐businesses can thrive is a testament to his commitment to innovation in this space, and his vision for a healthier and economically robust New York.”
Founded in 2011, Field Goods delivers small‐farm produce to customers at workplace and community locations. It currently delivers local produce, purchased from more than 70 small farms, to more than 2,000 customers in nine Hudson Valley and Capital Region counties from Saratoga to Westchester.
August 2014 Field Goods was selected and highlighted as a regional priority project by the CAPITAL REGION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL in its 2014 Progess Report. Most importantly, Field Goods was endorsed for the fourth round of Regional Council competition. State funding for the fourth round includes $220 million in competitive funds from Empire State Development ($150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits) to implement regional strategic plans and continue to advance priority job-creating projects, and up to $530 million from State agency programs through the CFA to support regionally-significant economic development projects.