New York City area residents and workers can look forward to expanded online access to locally grown and produced foods from New York farmers and other regional producers and opportunities to learn about and visit local farmers and producers virtually, thanks to a $160,000 United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The award was made to EscapeMaker.com and Fulton Stall Market and announced last month as one of 48 funded projects nationwide.
The USDA AMS FMPP grant will enable EscapeMaker.com, a local agritourism, and online travel guide, to work with its partner the Fulton Stall Market, a nonprofit farmers market located in a historic building at the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, to upgrade the market’s website, add online ordering of local farm and food products, host virtual farm tours, food demonstrations and educational workshops by regional farmers, food and craft beverage producers. The online enhancement will enable the market to reach and engage nearby Lower Manhattan residents and other New Yorkers working from home in learning about and buying local foods available at the market and in visiting local farmers and producers online and in person.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry said, “This USDA funding is great news for EscapeMaker and the Fulton Stall Market, whose partnership supports over 100 local farmers and producers across New York State. As our communities rebuild from the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, I will continue to fight for funding in the Senate to help boost and revitalize our unique agritourism economy. It’s a top priority to ensure New Yorkers can safely access healthy local produce.”
Stephen Dima, President of the nonprofit Fulton Market Association, Inc. said, “The Fulton Stall Market is excited to receive this timely grant award from the USDA AMS under the Farmers Market Promotion Program to help us expand direct marketing and agritourism connections for our local farmers and food producers to our many customers in the growing Lower Manhattan community, and to New Yorkers citywide. USDA’s support will help our market strengthen its role as a vital component of New York City’s acclaimed farmers public market system, and a vibrant destination in a revitalized South Street Seaport District.”
Since 2015, the Fulton Stall Market has provided residents and workers in the Seaport District and Lower Manhattan with convenient access to locally grown farm and food products, supported farmers and small-scale food producers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and other states, and helped revitalize the historic area devastated by Hurricane Sandy with farmers market activity echoing its past as NYC’s original market district. The indoor market’s country store at 91 South St. has continued to operate during the pandemic. It offers the community a full range of fresh and value-added local products from participating farmers and producers, a four-season CSA (community supported agriculture) program, and an in-house kitchen offering a takeout menu of prepared foods made from the local farm products in the market.
New York City Council Member Margaret Chin said, “Congratulations to Fulton Stall Market and its partner EscapeMaker on receiving this important USDA agritourism grant. In this digital age, an online presence is absolutely necessary for businesses, including New York farms. This funding will allow participating farms to sell food directly to New Yorkers, as well as provide customers with educational workshops. The Fulton Stall Market is such a staple of the South Street Seaport, and this funding will help them reach even more New Yorkers in need of fresh produce.”
Under the USDA AMS FMPP grant, EscapeMaker will help Fulton Stall Market develop online marketing options to enable local food products to be ordered directly from participating farms or for pickup at the market. The grant will also support an online alternative to the market’s regular educational and agritourism programming. From 2015 to 2019, programming included farm and food workshops for families, school classes, consumers, and small-scale food entrepreneurs, as well as an annual series of regional agritourism promotional events held at the market’s Sunday outdoor farmers market on Pier 17 on the Seaport District waterfront.
These one-day agritourism events, produced by Fulton Stall Market and EscapeMaker, were attended by thousands of New Yorkers and visitors from the US and abroad. Events highlighted farms, local food and craft beverages in upstate NY tourism regions (“Ithaca & Finger Lakes Food & Craft Beverage Festival”) (“Adirondacks & 1000 Islands Festival”), major New York agricultural products (“Applepalooza and Maple Fest”), and the culturally diverse food vendors of New York City Public Markets (“Deck the Stalls”/”NYC EDC Public Market Showcases”). Although large-scale events are temporarily suspended, the USDA AMS FMPP grant will enable the market’s enhanced website to introduce many more NYC consumers to local farmers and producers and local foods, online on a daily basis.
EscapeMaker, which since 2016 has hosted a special agritourism/local travel kiosk inside the market to enable customers to learn about local farms that welcome visitors, submitted the USDA AMS FMPP grant in collaboration with the Fulton Stall Market. In addition to helping the market add online sales and educational programming to its website, EscapeMaker.com will highlight socially distanced agritourism getaway ideas to help market shoppers plan educational trips to local farms, food makers, and craft beverage producers within a day’s drive or train ride of New York City.
Caylin Sanders, Founder & CEO of EscapeMaker.com, said, “We’re so honored to receive this award from the USDA and AMS to support our partnership with the Fulton Stall Market in linking city and country. It’s an acknowledgment that investing in agritourism increases farmers’ and producers’ incomes, improves access to high-quality local foods, educates consumers about local food and agriculture, and improves our environmental and public health. It’s especially affirming to receive this award as we celebrate 20 years in business this year.”
Consumers can expect to see programming and services under the USDA AMS FMPP grant roll out starting in Spring 2021.
For more information, see Fulton Stall Market’s website at http://www.fultonstallmarket.org
Funding for the Fulton Stall Market Online Food Sales, Workshops & Local Agritourism Promotion was made possible by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through USDA GRANT 13116454. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.
About Fulton Stall Market http://www.fultonstallmarket.org:
Fulton Stall Market is a community marketplace for local foods at 91 South St. NYC, connecting farmers and producers with Lower Manhattan residents and workers. Located in the historic district where the city’s public markets began in the 1700s, it’s a first step toward the development of a full-scale indoor public market featuring local farmers and producers and their products, as well as educational programming on food and agriculture and the Seaport District’s colorful public market history. The market is operated by the Fulton Market Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which in addition to this USDA grant award, has received support from NYC Council Member Margaret Chin, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, NYC Economic Development Corporation, and South Street Seaport Limited Partnership/Howard Hughes Corporation.
About EscapeMaker.com http://www.escapemaker.com:
EscapeMaker’s mission is to inspire NYC residents to explore the farms, wineries, craft beverage trails, and other agritourism destinations located within a day’s drive or train ride of the NYC metropolitan area, lowering carbon footprints and supporting local food systems. In business since 2000, the Emmy Award-winning, MWBE-certified company produces events and online programming to inspire local agritourism and sustainable travel across the Northeast as well as produces online agritourism B2C training. Focused on promoting women-owned agritourism businesses, EscapeMaker will host the first “Women in Food and Farming Festival” at Stone Ridge Orchard in the Hudson Valley in 2021.