What is it?
- New York Grown & Certified is a food certification that recognizes food grown and harvested in NY that also meets high standards of food safety and environmental stewardship, the first of its kind.
- The program is designed to support NY farmers, boost agricultural economy and increase transparency for consumers.
- Once certified, New York State Grown & Certified partners and retailers can use the official seal on their products and other marketing resources.
- The state has also committed to putting forth significant marketing efforts for the program aimed at restaurants, institutional buyers and consumers.
Why launch this new certification with all of the other labels out there?
- Based on market research, the state declares that a “NYS Grown & Certified” label builds on existing positive perception that residents have of NYS produce. Consumers stated they would buy more, pay more, and favor food bearing this label over food that did not.
- The idea is that the food label will provide consumers with an assurance of quality in “how and where the food is grown and produced” beyond existing labels such as “organic”.
- The State is hopeful that an important added benefit of the certification is to increase sales for qualifying producers due to an increased demand for their products as a result of the new label.
Who is eligible?
- The certification is currently available to farmers who are already part of an independent audit program such as USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and have also completed Tier 2 or higher of Agriculture Environmental Management (AEM). AEM is a voluntary, incentive-based program that helps farmers protect important natural resources.
- If a farmer is not currently certified for GAP or a part of AEM, the NY State Grown & Certified website provides information on how a farmer can become eligible.
- The initial roll-out is only inclusive of fruit and vegetable growers however the certification will expand to other commodities in the coming months.
- The certification is free, outside of any costs associated with participating in the audit programs mentioned above (which typically include an administrative fee and additional costs for time spent conducting an audit)
- More than 100 qualifying vegetable and fruit farms from across New York State already expressed interest before New York State Grown & Certified officially launched on August 11th.
- The Department of Agriculture and Markets has pledged to working with New York State producers across all commodities to assist them in qualifying for the program.