Jerry Cosgrove: Small-Scale Farms Offer Tremendous Economic Benefits

The New York Times highlights the reasons why supporting local food producers is good for the economy - earning a comment from agriculture and conservation expert Jerry Cosgrove

Jul 10, 2012, 06:00 ET from Jerry Cosgrove

NEW YORK, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For anyone who has ever visited a farmers market, the reasons for supporting local food producers are probably well known. For one thing, there is the simple matter of nutrition – to say nothing of concerns about fossil fuel reduction, and the decrease in other kinds of environmental impacts. In addition to these familiar arguments on behalf of local agriculture, however, there are other reasons why buying local food may be beneficial for everyone. According to a recent article in the New York Times, buying local food is also a great way to stimulate the local economy. This article has won the praise of local food enthusiasts across the country, including agriculture and conservation expert Jerry Cosgrove.

The New York Times article notes that, when it comes to the economics behind food production and distribution, "The future is local." The article highlights the facts that many farmers and growers, across the country, have reaped immense economic benefits from the increased popularity of local food purchasing. According to the Times, a growing army of successful, small-scale farmers effectively amounts to a "reworking of old models about how food gets sold and farms get financed."

Jerry Cosgrove, who serves as the Associate Director of the Local Economies Project, agrees with the Times' emphasis on the economics of small-scale farming. Cosgrove has responded to the Times report with a press statement of his own. "The recent New York Times article highlights the fact that local food production is a great way to strengthen local economies," notes Jerry Cosgrove, in his press statement. "At the Local Economies Project, part of the New World Foundation, we are working here in the Hudson Valley to do just that. By fostering collaborations and working with agricultural, conservation and community partners here in the Valley, we are addressing three critical issues facing family farms in this region – namely, access to training and technical assistance (farming is a challenging and ever-changing business), access to capital (like it or not, agriculture is capital intensive), and access to land."

Ultimately, Jerry Cosgrove says the Times article is accurate in its optimism. "As the article recognizes, we too are encouraged to see social impact investors (both private and institutional) looking for ways to invest truly patient capital in local agriculture and food production," says Cosgrove. "To be honest, it is about time. And likewise, we hope that USDA and state Departments of Agriculture will support programs for smaller and mid-sized family farmers with respect to access to training, access to capital and access to land. As Mother Nature reminds us every day, we not only need the economic benefits of local agriculture, we need its inherent resiliency, as well."


As Associate Director of the Local Economies Project, Jerry Cosgrove has contributed conservation and agricultural expertise to the New World Foundation. He works to boost small and local farms, which will not only improve national health but also maintain a successful overall economy. To conserve farmland, he works to develop sustainable and workable solutions, which is demonstrated by his professional career at the crossroads of agriculture and the environment within the Hudson Valley and across the Northeast region.

SOURCE Jerry Cosgrove