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Onondaga County urging residents to 'Buy Local' this summer

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County officials are urging people to buy local this summer, saying local farmers need help more now than ever, as businesses start to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic.

Christina Hudson Kohler is a fourth generation egg farmer in Onondaga County. The farm lost half of its business when food service shut down. And while they are moving into recovery mode, more issues keep popping up. Right now, the problem is a shortage of egg cartons.

"You might not think of that, but with supply chains not being local, our cartons come from Georgia," Kohler said. "So, as Georgia has seen a second spike in cases has limited their ability to produce and process egg cartons."

Hudson Egg Farm's problem with cartons spotlights one of the lessons learned during this pandemic, according to Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, saying we depend too much on items made in other parts of the world or country.

"We need to buy local with everything we do," McMahon said. "We need to make sure that every dollar made in this community, stays in this community."

There are more than 600 farms in Onondaga County alone, producing everything from produce to milk to meat. And when it comes to buying local, it can be as easy as heading to a farmer's market or farm stand, said Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Dave Knapp. And he said don’t forget local farmers are often featured in local grocery stores.

"Look for those local producers, the Reeves, the Emmi’s, the Andrew's, that are supplying food to some of the stores, opposed to grabbing one from out of state or country, grab one from a local producer," Knapp said.

Onondaga County hopes to help farmers going forward, especially those with cash flow problems that come from buying expensive feed, seed and supplies in the spring. Knapp said the county is finalizing a $500,000 grant program for farmers hit hard during the pandemic shutdown and recovery.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.