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North Country program pushes local, affordable produce

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT
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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (WCAX) - A North Country, New York, nonprofit is working to get fresh food on the table while helping the farmers who produce it.

At the Lake Placid Farmers Market, you’ll see a tent for ADK Action. “We’re a nonprofit based out of Keeseville with projects around the Adirondacks,” explained the group’s Kim La Reau.

She’s there to spread the word about their Fair Food Prices Program, an effort to connect low to middle-income families with local farms and produce at a discounted price. “Basically, it’s a food subsidy program to help local people eat local for less,” La Reau said.

There are 150 families taking part in the program in Essex, Clinton, Franklin, and Hamilton Counties, offering them 30-to-90% fresh, locally-grown produce, depending on their income and needs. “We want people to be able to eat local foods that are nourishing their bodies and here we have so many local farmers and we want to be able to keep that food here for our community,” La Reau said.

Connecting families on a budget who live in rural areas that are considered food deserts, with local producers like Juniper Hill Farms in Wadhams.

“People tend to shop where they can conveniently go -- Stewarts or Dollar General -- so the challenge of actually getting the vegetables and the fruit, you kind of have to go out of your way,” said Amy Wahl, a dietician with Hudson Headwaters Health Network. She say most people are good about trying to incorporate fruit and veggies into their diet, but also understands the challenges. “The ability to get the produce -- the cost is a big thing, especially this year during COVID.”

Wahl says participants will notice the health benefits. “Consuming more fruits and vegetables helps decrease your risk of chronic disease and also helps you better manage your chronic disease,” she said.

Wahl said getting the greens is the first step. The second is about having the confidence in the kitchen to use them. She encourages people to try different herbs and spices while cooking to make the foods appeal to their taste buds.

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