Mossbrook Roots Flower Farm, Keeseville
Image by Sam Cecil

Mossbrook Roots Flower Farm, Keeseville, NY

Essex County Farmland Protection and Food System Plan 2022

Essex County's Farmland Protection and Food System Plan provides a big-picture vision for sustainable growth within the larger food system. When we set out on this journey in 2019, we knew in order to address long-term protection of farmland in Essex County, we needed to address the interconnected and holistic nature of the food system in the county. Thus, this Plan provides a concrete set of action items and maps regarding key farmland to protect, economic vitality of farms, regenerative agriculture and community engagement. 

Ultimately, this Plan serves as a guide map for systems planning and projects for the county. Many organizations work in complementary capacities to ensure farming is viable and sustainable and citizens have access to fresh, local food. In order to ensure all key players and stakeholders in the system are working together on the most efficient path toward positive growth, this Strategic Plan contains action items and indicators to track progress over time. In addition, these Plans are signed into law by the County Board of Representatives, ensuring local politicians are made aware of the viewpoints and needs of the citizens and organizations. Finally, this Plan may be used as a citable document for grant applications.

This plan is divided into 5 sections:

 Section 1 (page 1) contextualizes how food system planning and development has the potential to “feed two birds with one scone” by protecting the working landscape, building a stable economic foundation, generating amenities that are attractive to people, providing some level of food security, and developing a buffer against future disturbances.

 Section 2 (page 16) reviews findings from the 1997 plan .

 Section 3 (page 21) analyzes common challenges that all food systems experience, including challenges that are particularly difficult for small places with limited resources to overcome.

 Section 4 (page 63) identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that Essex County’s food system faces.

 Section 5 (page 87) describes a set of opportunities and strategies for maximizing Essex County’s strengths.

 Survey results are shared in 3 Appendices (page 191).

This Plan was made possible through the support of an Ag and Markets Farmland Protection Planning grant, Essex County, and various organizations and individuals who contributed invaluable expertise and time, including the Farmland Protection Board. CCE Essex, Essex County Community Resources and Adirondack Land Trust led the way. A special thank you to Scott Sawyer, lead consultant who prepared the Plan, bringing expertise from his work in food systems planning across the nation to our rural Adirondack county.

Downloadable Documents

Executive Summary  (17.2 MB)

2022 Essex County Farmland Protection and Food System Plan  (71 MB; Full Plan)

Section 1  (6.3 MB)

Section 2  (7.2 MB)

Section 3  (34.4 MB)

Section 4 (29.6 MB)

Section 5  (44 MB)

Section 6  (103 KB)

Appendix A  (2.9 MB) Results from farmer and farmland owner survey.

Appendix B  (1 MB) Results from restaurant, catering, prepared food survey.

Appendix C  (634 KB) Results from resident survey. 

Plan Impact Tracking

Work related to and derived from the creation of this Plan is being tracked and publicly available in this google spreadsheet. (View-only mode.) The spreadsheet format is outlined in parallel to the "Opportunities and Strategies" table found in the Executive Summary of the Plan (linked above.)

The purpose of organizing this tracking data in this format includes:

- TRACK OUR USE OF THE PLAN: this is key, as organizations should utilize the Plan to write grants, develop work plans, etc. 

- Consolidate key progress in a concise location for all Partners to access

- Ensure Partners can remain aware of interconnected goals and work

- Facilitate continued and growing collaborations

- Remind us of the priorities and goals determined by the planning process (derived from data, surveys, and our input)

- Provide accountability to stakeholders

- Inspiration! 

- Allow us to easily track our progress for future planning endeavors

- Create a foundation for new action items

Last updated January 9, 2024