HAMBURG, NJ –Stakeholders from NJ Agriculture, Farming, Health, Education, Environment, Nutrition, Farmers Markets, Government, Agritourism and Consumer gathered at the Crystal Springs Cascade Resort to discuss how they will best partner and connect to help promote the accelerating demand for local, healthy food.

 

There were 80 participants at the Third Annual New Jersey Farmers Market Managers Summit was held on Dec 7 in Hamburg.

 “It was an awesome to hear Douglas Fisher, the Secretary of Agriculture, Michael Hurwitz, the Director of the Greenmarket Program of GrowNYC, our farmers, our farmers’ market managers, our food artisans, our educators, our environmentalists and other food stakeholders discuss how we can work together,” said Mitch Morrison, New Jersey – New World Founder and coordinator of the Summit.   “Those who are purchasing local, healthy products are helping drive very positive economic, health, environmental and quality of life changes.”

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Fisher said, “Farmers markets are important venues for New Jersey farmers to sell their products directly to consumers and these markets have become community centers where folks can meet the people that grow their food.  It was great attending the North Jersey Farmers Market Managers Summit to learn more about the advances being made and challenges of these vibrant marketplaces.”

 

Anne Masters, an avid NJ farmer’s market consumer said, “Food that is grown or raised locally is important for our bodies and the environment.  Local Farmers' Markets turn a dreaded chore into a social event that builds community.  I love the fact that I can ask questions of my farmer about my food, whether its eggs, produce, meat, cheese, honey or bread.  Great soaps too.  My one concern is sustainability; they seem to rest on the shoulders of too few.”

 

 Emmanuela Mujica, the Director of Special Projects Greater Newark Conservancy, said, “It was wonderful to connect with farmers, market managers, and state representatives. I was pleased to learn that on all sides there is a collective desire to embrace educational opportunities at the markets, which is what we strive to do at the Conservancy through our many programs. Future generations need us to band together as allies to create a healthier food shed in New Jersey. I believe we can have a great impact by combining our individual market efforts into one resource hub. The Farmer's Market Manager meeting is a great start.”

 

 Michael Hurwitz, Director of GrowNYC said, "It was a privilege to join my colleagues across the river that work tirelessly to support their local farmers and bring their products to communities throughout the Garden State. We have numerous growers coming from New Jersey to our Greenmarkets, including one of our founders, and this connection is rooted in the common goal of creating a more sustainable and just food system."

 

Natalie Burger, the owner of Hidden Pastures Farm and the Secretary of the Sussex County Board of Agriculture said, “The Northern New Jersey Farmers Market Summit is an event that brings together an amazing mix of market managers, Government leaders in agriculture, farmers and other interested parties to help strengthen the farmers market platform as a valuable entity in supporting farming and the availability of fresh local foods and farm products to the public.”

 

“It's always so helpful to hear perspectives from farmers, farmers’ market managers, non-profits, and legislators. Whether we are seasoned markets or newly formed, I believe we all benefitted from this Summit” said to Nancy Boone, the Ramsey Farmers' Market Manager.

 

Kendrya Close, the Executive Director of the Food Shed Alliance, said, “It is always nice to recognize that we do not all work in our own silos and there is a great power of coming together for a common purpose. Spending the morning with like-minded people who are all in the fight for local food and local farming was energizing.”

 

“I think that is important that we as market managers and those who run the markets get together to learn best practices and knowledge share. I know that I was able to connect with those who may help us on a number of levels with SNAP and education for 2016. Thank you for making this event possible.” said Chris Manzella, the Executive Director of Boonton Main Street.

 

“Zufall Health is a local nonprofit with multiple sites that is building relationships to connect the state’s farm laborers with doctors and nurses that can help them stay healthy,” said Michelle Blanchfield, Zufall’s Director of Outreach.  “We believe a healthier work force makes for a more productive farm and will not only bring the best product to consumers, but will have a positive impact on the economic health of the whole New Jersey agricultural industry.”

 

NJNW is dedicated to connecting and partnering with farmers, food producers, farmers markets chefs, educators, government, healthcare providers and environmentalists who support NJ agriculture and bring fresh, flavorful and high quality food to all New Jerseyans and our guests. To learn more, please contact: Mitch Morrison; New Jersey – New World;  mitchell.morrison5@mac.com.