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Milk Not Jails' Lauren Melodia and her team want to convince New York to invest in farms, not prisons. Photo: David Sommerstein
Milk Not Jails' Lauren Melodia and her team want to convince New York to invest in farms, not prisons. Photo: David Sommerstein

What could replace the North Country's prison industry?

This week, our Prison Time Media Project is examining the North Country's vast complex of prisons. It's an industry from Cape Vincent to Chateaugay that employs thousands of people in a region with few other options.

Today we ask - what if? What if the crime rate continues to drop and the number of inmates locked up continues to fall? What if, as Governor Cuomo has advocated, New York keeps closing prisons, as it did in Lyon Mountain and Gabriels?

What's next for the North Country's prison towns?

One tiny not-for-profit from New York City has an idea. Take the money saved from shuttering prisons and spend that money on agriculture. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Roseanne Gallagher, with chickens. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Certified naturally grown: an organic alternative

It can be expensive and time-consuming for farmers, especially small farmers, to go through the organic certification process. But there's another option. It's called certified naturally grown. The grassroots organization that offers this label uses organic standards, has farmers conduct inspections for their peers, and provides marketing materials.  Go to full article
A methane dome is a recognizable part of an anaerobic digester system. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45914503@N00/7269576888/">Dan Hartung</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

St. Lawrence co. dairy gets digester grant

A large dairy farm in St. Lawrence County is getting more than $400,000 for a methane digester. The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help Woodcrest Dairy in Lisbon pay for the estimated $2.5-million project.  Go to full article
Eric Andrus working on his farm-to-market sailboat. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sail barge Ceres brings Champlain Valley produce to NYC

Vermont farmer Eric Andrus just completed a major voyage. Andrus built a sail-powered, carbon-neutral cargo barge called the Ceres. He filled it with produce, and sailed it...  Go to full article
Cows grazing at Bob Zufall's farm in Lisbon, NY. Photo: David Pynchon

Small dairy farmers seek more from Farm Bill

Today federal lawmakers convene to begin seeking compromise for a new five year Farm Bill. The $500 billion package sets the nation's agricultural policy.

Its...  Go to full article
Michael Aubertine pours out a sample of one of his spirits at the Clayton Distillery. Photo: Joanna Richards

Local food craze hits booze market, too

The local food trend in the north country is starting to fill a new niche: alcoholic beverages. And not only are brewers and winemakers crafting their products here, but...  Go to full article

"Subversive gardening" on World Food Day

Today is World Food Day, a day to think about hunger and food insecurity around the world and in our backyard.

High school students from around the North Country...  Go to full article
Ellen Beberman's hillside market garden. Photo: Zach Hirsch

Listen: Ellen Beberman on mountain gardening

Ellen Beberman is the manager of the farmers market in Tupper Lake, where she also sells her own produce. She grows her onions, leafy greens, carrots in perhaps the last...  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/11646053@N04/8439347472/">Sergio Ruiz</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How a St. Lawrence county coop is building local food distribution

A farmer cooperative in St. Lawrence County is getting a federal grant to sell more local produce to schools and hospitals. As David Sommerstein reports, the North Country...  Go to full article
Christine Hoffman has just moved her jam and jelly business, The Spicy Wench, into the new shared-use commercial kitchen in Sackets Harbor. Photo: Joanna Richards

Sackets Harbor shared kitchen fills gap for small food producers

A new commercial kitchen in Sackets Harbor is starting to help small food producers grow their businesses. The shared-use facility is the first of its kind in Jefferson...  Go to full article
Lauren and Robert Miller, at the farm in Lombardy, Ontario. Photo by Lucy Martin

Work trumps water skiing at Miller's Bay Farm

Lake country west of Perth, Ontario is dotted with a mix of woodland, rural homes and farms. Overlooking Rideau Lake you'll find Miller's Bay Farm Market Garden and Berry...  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein.

Putting farmers on the map, literally

One more story from last weekend's Farm Aid in Saratoga Springs.

There was a huge tent at the concert showcasing farm-related not-for-profits called the Homegrown...  Go to full article
The "Big Four" - John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, and Neil Young - with Pete Seeger, Saturday night in Saratoga Springs. Photo © Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve, Inc.

Food, politics, and The Big Four at Farm Aid

For the first time in its 28 year history, Farm Aid came to Upstate New York on Saturday. The headliners were, as in every year, the "Big Four": Willie Nelson, Neil Young,...  Go to full article
Alpina's shiny new Greek yogurt plant is right across the industrial park from another new yogurt plant. Photo: David Sommerstein.

How the 'Silicon Valley of Yogurt' is reshaping dairy farming

It's been about a year since Governor Cuomo convened his Yogurt Summit. He urged the state's dairy farmers to ramp up to meet the growing demand for milk from the booming...  Go to full article
The Northern Grape Project's test vines at Coyote Moon winery, Clayton. Photo: David Sommerstein

North Country wines survive the cold, please the palate

The New York wine industry is booming. According to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, five million people visit New York wineries every year. The industry generates...  Go to full article
Cows grazing at Bob Zufall's farm in Lisbon, NY. Photo: David Pynchon

Two farms, two very different views on sustainability

The term sustainability is now commonplace. Everything from furniture, to travel, to shopping at Walmart is described as "sustainable." Usage has stretched so far that it's...  Go to full article
Guy Palardy in front of a roll of drainage pipe. Photo: Sarah Harris

Are tile drains bad for Lake Champlain?

Farmers in the Champlain Valley often use tile drains in their fields. They help the region's clay soil drain faster and produce higher crop yields.

But for...  Go to full article
Les and Erica Goodman. Photo: Sarah Harris

From milk to beer: Dairy family switches to hops

Agriculture in the North Country is changing - and the evidence is everywhere. For the Goodmans, a longtime dairy family in Fort Ann, in Washington County, it's time to get...  Go to full article
Chicks at Renee Smith's farm, DeKalb Junction, NY. Photo: Julie Grant

Local chicken processing gets USDA cerification

The North Country local food movement just got a big boost. The ribbon was cut Thursday on a new, USDA-certified, mobile poultry processing unit.

The project is...  Go to full article
An Amish farm in St. Lawrence county. Photo: Sarah Harris

Amish farmers partner with Agri-Mark

Most of the North Country is losing population, and losing farms. But there's one group that keeps growing: Old Order Amish. They're drawn to the St. Lawrence Valley by the...  Go to full article
Dairy farmer Mike Kiechle of Philadelphia, NY, spreads manure from his tractor. He's the kind of small farmer the new rules are trying to target, but he says he doubts he'll grow his herd bigger. Photo: David Sommerstein

Will the Greek yogurt boom help dairy farmers?

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced New York will be one of four states in a test program to include Greek yogurt in school lunches.

State...  Go to full article
A still from a promotional video for the Adirondack Coast. Image: goadirondack.com

Champlain Valley wineries get official recognition

Amid Wednesday's flurry of action in Albany, a bill passed that creates an official Adirondack Coast Wine Trail. According to the New York State Wine and Grape Association,...  Go to full article
Kegs of St. Lawrence Brewery beer are ready to ship out on Monday. Photo: David Sommerstein

Filling the kegs at Canton's first brewery

From Glens Falls to Sackets Harbor, new breweries have been churning out local beer across the North Country.

Starting this weekend, St. Lawrence County will have...  Go to full article
Eric Andrus working on his farm-to-market sailboat. Photo: Sarah Harris

Can North Country farmers feed NYC market?

Demand for local food has skyrocketed in big cities like New York and Boston. But do North Country farmers have a role to play in feeding those cities?  Go to full article
Les and Erica Goodman. Photo: Sarah Harris

From milk to beer: Dairy family switches to hops

Agriculture in the North Country is changing - and the evidence is everywhere. For the Goodmans, a longtime dairy family in Fort Ann, in Washington County, it's time to get...  Go to full article
North Country wines were featured at the Viticulture 2013 conference in Rochester earlier this month.  Photo: David Sommerstein.

What North Country wineries are doing right

When you hear New York wines, you probably think about the Finger Lakes. Wineries in that region have become world famous for their Rieslings and other white and red...  Go to full article
Steve Knight, CEO of United Helpers, stands in front of the safe in the old Community Bank building in Canton.  He hopes this will be part of a business incubator and food hub for the agricultural community.  Photo: David Sommerstein.

How "food hubs" could create jobs in the North Country

According to the USDA, there are more than 200 regional "Food Hubs" in the US. The USDA says it believes the hubs...  Go to full article

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