Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

August 04, 2008

Commissioner Hooker Challenges Nyers to Eat Local

New Yorkers Challenged to Eat Only Locally Grown Food for One Day This Week

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today challenged all New Yorkers to "eat local" for at least one day this week. During the week of August 3-9, National Farmers’ Market Week and the peak of fresh summer produce, New Yorkers are challenged to only eat foods that are produced or grown here in New York.

"Here’s the challenge," the Commissioner said. "Pick a day this week and try to eat only locally grown or made products for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks in between. This simple task has tremendous benefits for everyone in New York. Buying and eating local foods supports our hard working farmers, keeps farmland open and productive, reduces food miles which saves on gas and can cut greenhouse gas emissions, and last but not least, it tastes great as it is picked at the peak of harvest and offers not only excellent flavor, but maximum nutrition."

To kick off the "Eat Local" Challenge, Commissioner Hooker will visit three local food systems in Albany tomorrow, Tuesday, August 5. He will visit a specialty food store, a community garden and a local farm and café to highlight the diversity of products and places consumers can buy local food in New York State.

"The purpose of this challenge is to raise the awareness of locally grown foods, get consumers to ask for local products and get people to look at their labels and learn more about their food," the Commissioner said. "So don’t stop after the challenge, make it a point to include New York products in every meal, all year long."

New York State has a diverse food and agricultural industry that offers consumers an abundance and wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats, eggs, sauces, confections, breads and more. These local products and more can be found at many retail and specialty stores, at roadside stands and farmers’ markets, and restaurants throughout the State. Consumers can also visit their local farmer directly, join a CSA or community garden for fresh products. The Pride of New York program uses an emblem to help consumers identify New York State products where they shop.

The concept of buying local is simply to buy food or any goods or service that is produced, grown or raised as close to home as possible. With industrialization and globalization, food now travels further to reach the average consumer’s refrigerator. "Food miles" is a term that refers to the distance food travels. The food miles for items in an average grocery store tend to be 27 times higher than the food miles for goods bought from local sources, such as farmers’ markets.

In the U.S., produce sold at a grocery store travels nearly 1,500 miles with approximately 40 percent of fruit grown overseas and 9 percent of red meat coming from countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand. Roughly 80 percent of the energy used in the U.S. food system goes to processing, packaging, transporting, storing and preparing food, and therefore, buying and eating local food helps reduce transportation costs, allowing more of the food dollar to be returned to the farmer.

To find New York grown, produced or made food, please visit the Pride of New York’s website at The Pride of New York is the State’s marketing and promotion program that generates interest and demand for New York food and agricultural products.

2008 Press Releases