New Local Foods Grant Links B&Bs, Area Agriculture

Steve Miller, senior executive chef of Cornell University's Cornell Dining, recently outlined the new grant for me, which is designed to increase the number of B&Bs offering locally produced food and agricultural products in meals served to their guests, carrying shelf-stable local products such as jams, maple syrup and sauces, and to measure the economic impact of producers of sales made through this specialized marketing channel.

Funds, Miller said, will be used to organize regional opportunities for B&B owners to meet local producers and sample their products. "Part of the project will be to identify these two groups and make it easier for them to access each other's products and services," he said. The grant doesn't send funds directly to individual B&B operators or farmers, but rather works with producer organizations such as beef producers, NOFA-NY, maple producers, small-scale food processors, and B&B owners as a group.

On the other end, farmers who offer tours and other opportunities for tourists will be encouraged to work closely with B&B owners. Regional and statewide promotions will encourage consumers to partake in the foods offered by New York-based producers and B&Bs.

Producer organizations and B&B owners are encouraged to participate in the project, which starts this fall and runs two years.

Where do we sign?

For more information about this grant, e-mail Steve Miller at or Jonathan Thomson at

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.