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State agriculture tour stops at Indian Ladder

Ten Eyck, like many local food advocates, said he believes that Americans are relying too much on food products that are shipped from thousands of miles away before making it into grocery stores. "The agenda is now pretty much that Americans feed themselves by waving money in the air, and somebody comes from four corners of the world and gives them something to eat," he said, referring to imported foods.

At the event, advocates said that during times of a national food crisis, such as the E. coli spinach scare of last year, people should have their own food sources to fall back on. A good way to keep local agriculture thriving is if more people shop at farmer's markets and organic food stores and continue to grow their own food.

Hooker said the Municipal Farmland Protection planning grant program should be a big help when it comes to keeping local farms in business.

"What we see out there is communities wanting to do the right thing for agriculture, but they don't have the staff of 50 people behind them. Our department is a resource for them when they make that decision," he said.

For information on local farmers' markets go to www.nyfarmersmarket.com. The Regional Farm and Food Bank Web site also lists area farms and more at www.farmandfood.org.

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