A growing tourist industry

Farms in Clifton Park will be the focus of a new $28,150 project designed to educate residents and promote local agricultural spots to visitors.

This project will allow the town to continue its longtime collaboration with local farmers in increasing visibility and marketing of our wonderful local agricultural resources, said Supervisor Phil Barrett.

The town will use a $14,075 Agri-Tourism grant from the New York State Department of Agricultural and Markets to fund part of the project. The remainder of funding comes from the town, which matched the grant amount.

The purpose of the grant-approved project is to stimulate farming business, so farms in Clifton Park will be preserved for future generations.

"Helping to promote farms has been a priority for this town," said Myla Kramer, director of Parks, Recreation and Community Affairs and the grant's project manager.

She said the grant seemed to be a good fit for the town as they have preserved several farms over the past two years and have worked to collaborate with local farmers.

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Community Affairs will oversee the project by implementing a marketing and educational program that highlights local farms and farmers markets.

"Many of our farms are open through three or more seasons; therefore the tourism generated through an effort which offers a larger scope can only present a positive outcome for our local agricultural industry," Kramer said. "Visitors will gain a better understanding of farming and appreciation for agricultural land."

A piece of the plan includes developing an educational program to teach the history of farming and its importance in today's society.

Isabel Prescott, owner of Riverview Orchards said, "I think it [the project] will be very beneficial to raise awareness of local farms."

She said several people are unaware of the active farms in Clifton Park. She said the western portion of town, where Riverview Orchards is located, is still very rural.

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