Resources for Growers
An extensive range of resources, programs and organizations exist that are focused on supporting food producers. Many of these are geared toward large scale producers . Yet small and medium scale producers are an important part of local and regional food systems, able to uniquely adapt and respond to the communities they serve. They also face unique challenges, sometimes requiring a more sophisticated or subtle approach to diversification, risk-management, outreach, marketing and value-added strategies.
As the Land Grant University for New York State, Cornell has a variety of resources and programs serving the needs of agricultural and horticultural producers. Your local Cooperative Extension office is always a good source of expertise and information specific to your community.
The following links include resources for current or aspiring food producers looking for ways to integrate with local or regional food systems. Due to the multitude of local and regional programs that exist across the nation and world that would be too numerous to list here, many of these are focused on New York state. The Regional and Gardening pages list other grower resources as well.
Agricultural & Horticultural Resources at Cornell
- Compost Facilities Map (NYS) Cornell Waste Management Institute
- Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is an advanced and intensive form of hydroponically-based agriculture where plants grow within a controlled environment to optimize horticultural practices.
- Cornell Farmworker Program (CFP) is dedicated to improving the living and working conditions of farmworkers and their families.
- Cornell AgriTech - Formerly known as the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), Cornell AgriTech is "a preeminent center for agriculture & food research in Geneva, New York that delivers practical solutions to help farmers & businesses thrive."
- Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES)
- Dilmun Hill Student Farm Student-run farm practicing sustainable agriculture on Cornell University Ithaca campus. Provides students, faculty, staff and community with opportunities for experiential learning, group collaboration and research.
- eCommons Digital Repository: Gardening Collection Resources including fact sheets and growing guides for variety of food crops.
- eCommons Digital Repository: Local and Regional Food Systems Collection Materials produced by Cornell students, faculty, and staff pursuing studies, research or outreach work related or relevant to local and regional food systems. Some items may be restricted to select members of the Cornell Community.
- Farm to School Program Mission is to build awareness, increase knowledge, and support efforts to increase the amount of locally produced fresh or minimally processed foods served in New York's schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions.
- Forest Farming:The How, When and Why Collection of on-line resources introducing principles and practices of forest farming.
- Fruit Resources Index of Cornell fruit production resources.
- Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Education and Training -food safety related info.
- High Tunnel Research and Outreach Resources on high tunnel crop production including design, crops, marketing, blogs and other resources.
- New York Organic Dairy Program Connected with Cornell’s School of Ag and Life Science and Cooperative Extension, provides information to all parts of the organic dairy industry, including the consumer, dairy retailer, dairy processor, organic certifier, and farmers.
- NY Farmnet Provides farm families with a network of information, contacts and services addressing financial and personal challenges of agricultural business management.
- NYS Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program Several resources for growers, including organic guides.
- Small Farms Program
- Tree Fruit Pathology Group Information assisting New York farmers in managing the diseases that affect production of quality fruit.
- Vegetable Resources Index of Cornell resources for commercial growers.
- Viticulture and Enology Program Resources and expertise at Cornell related to grapes and wine.
Additional resources in the Cooperative Extension section of this guide.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Resources
- Agriculture & Food Systems Programs & Resources
- Cornell Garden-Based Learning Site with learning activities, programs, publications, and other educational materials.
- Cornell Soil Health Testing Laboratory Home of the Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health (CASH)
- Crop and Soil Sciences Extension and Outreach
- Dept. Horticulture Extension Outreach
- Gardening Resources
- Sugar Maple Research & Extension Program
- Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners Compiles information from gardeners to help decide what to grow.
- VineBalance Joint effort by the wine and juice grape industry, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets to define and promote the use of sustainable growing practices on vineyards in New York State.
Across the globe a wide range of efforts are beginning once again to breed and save seed for plant varieties specifically adapted to the needs and conditions of particular communities and regions, an important component of healthy food systems. The reasons for this work are broad, encompassing a greater desire for more locally suited varieties and biodiversity supporting health and resilience, to issues of food sovereignty. The Seed Saving Section of our Breeding & Selection page provides an introduction to this vast and growing body of work. Cornell community members can refer to the research literature section of this guide for database tools that can be used to find more scholarly resources.
Other Agriculture Resources
- Agricultural and Food Laws and Regulations page from this guide
- Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) -resources about sustainable food systems and practices in support of USDA's effort to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and farmers
- Educational and training opportunities in sustainable agriculture (from USDA)
- Farm Hack -a farmer driven community to develop, document and build tools for resilient agriculture. Farm Hack accelerates this process by connecting farmers with other farmers, engineers, designers, architects and other allies through in-person events on farms, at institutions, in grange halls, and an online forum.
- Farmers Market Coalition seeks to strengthen farmers markets’ capacity to serve farmers, consumers, and communities by providing the rapidly growing movement with information and representation at state and federal levels. We help build networks, link peers, and connect farmers markets old and new with tools and resources for success.
- Farmland Information Center Clearinghouse for information about farmland protection and stewardship. It is a partnership between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Farmland Trust.
- Field Guide to the New American Foodshed -Website created by the Farm Credit Council and the National Good Food Network, designed to illustrate the myriad ways that farmers have been successful. Many different routes into many different markets are explained, then illustrated with case studies of actual farms and other businesses using each model. Designed for farmers and those who might provide credit to farmers, this tool helps people to "speak the same language."
- Greenhorns Blog: the irresistible fleet of bicycles-Creative blog inspiring young farmers to join an agricultural revival. From the makers of the Greenhorns documentary.
- National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service -ATTRA -Sustainable agriculture and organic farming news, events and funding opportunities, as well as in-depth publications on production practices, alternative crop and livestock enterprises, innovative marketing, organic certification, and highlights of local, regional, USDA and other federal sustainable agriculture activities. Local and Regional Food Systems specific resources.
- National Young Farmers’ Coalition (NYFC) is group of young and sustainable farmers organizing for collective success: defining the issues that beginning farmers face, fighting for the policy change that is needed, and bringing farmers together in person and online to learn, to share and build a stronger community.
- New England Small Farm Institute Promotes small farm development by providing information and training for aspiring, beginning and transitioning farmers.
- New Entry Sustainable Farming Project -Assisting people with limited resources who have an interest in small-scale commercial agriculture, to begin farming in Massachusetts.
- New York Farm Bureau -advocacy group for NY state farmers.
- Northeast Beginning Farmer Project -variety of useful resources for beginning farmers, including online course, videos and publications.
- NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets
- NYS Farm Service Agency (FSA) -USDA agency providing information growers need to participate in federally funded agricultural programs.
- NYS Farm Viability Institute Farmer-led nonprofit group that awards grant funds for applied research and outreach education projects that help farms increase profits and provide models for other farms.
- Organic Growers' Research and Information-Sharing Network OGRN is an organization that generates practical information for organic farmers and gardeners through farmer participatory research, review articles and fact sheets on issues critical to organic farming, and by providing forums for information-exchange between growers.
- Penn State Beginning Farmer Website
- Rodale Institute Nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.
- Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and Northeast SARE programs -helping advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. Extensive offering of resources.
- Sustainable Farmer -providing information about how to raise food and fiber mindfully, paying attention to the needs of the environment, especially the plants and the animals that sustain us.
- UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute -Provides leadership for research, teaching and outreach and extension efforts in agricultural and food systems sustainability at the Davis Campus and throughout the Univ. of California system.