ChooseLI.org Website Encourages Residents to Support Local Food Businesses.
Suffolk County, NY - Sept. 10, 2018 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today unveiled a new feature for the ‘Choose LI – Local and Independent’ website. The website, which is a collaborative effort that seeks to raise awareness, advocate and inspire the community to support local and independent businesses on Long Island, has been updated to include a searchable and interactive map of all the farmstands, farmers’ markets, fish markets, vineyards, breweries, cideries, and distilleries in Suffolk County.
“Suffolk County is home to some of the most diverse and exciting agricultural and fishing selections in the entire state of New York,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “We want our residents to be able to take advantage of all the products that were grown and harvested right here in our own backyard. The new feature on ChooseLI.org makes it incredibly easy for residents to find these locally grown products and meet the commitment of spending 10 percent of their weekly food budget on local products across Suffolk County.”
The new searchable map currently lists 118 farmstands, 31 fishmarkets, 26 farmers markets, 60 vineyards, 33 breweries, 2 cideries, and 3 distilleries. Anyone who visits the website can interact with the map, finding the exact address, hours of operation, phone number, and website of the business they are looking for. If your business selling Long Island produce is missing from the Suffolk County map, please contact Choose LI at email@example.com.
The ‘Choose LI – Local and Independent’ initiative asks local residents and visitors to choose goods from local and independent farmers and fishermen to preserve Long Island’s heritage industries and cultivate a vibrant, diverse and robust economy. Residents are encouraged to “Take the Pledge” and commit to spending 10 percent of their weekly food budget, approximately $17.60, on local and independent food goods. Businesses can consider creating promotional specials using the #1760 and #ChooseLI hashtags to help pledgees meet their weekly commitments.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Yorkers spend approximately $176 a week on food. An analysis done by Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning states that if just 10 percent of the over 450,000 household located in Suffolk County commits to spending 10 percent of their weekly food budget on local food and beverages over a typical harvest season for Suffolk County, that spending would add an estimated $19 million into the Suffolk County economy. This $19 million in direct spending would create $33 million in total economic activity and create nearly 1,000 local jobs.
Suffolk County’s rich agricultural and fishing heritage helps sustain the County’s economic growth by generating tourism dollars, supporting local restaurants and service industries, and providing fresh produce for residents. Suffolk County has 39,000 acres of farmland, 36,000 of which are actively farmed, and 20,000 of which are permanently preserved through County, Town, and private land preservation programs. Suffolk County is home to over 600 farms, which employ more than 5,000 people. The County’s fisheries contribute to Long Island’s $5.9 billion tourism industry with ocean-related businesses generating over $1.9 billion in goods and services for the County and employing nearly 34,000 people. Currently, there are over 700 Suffolk County commercial fishing establishments, which are responsible for over $31 million in direct revenues, creating nearly $81 million in economic activity and over 1,000 jobs.