What do we eat, when do we eat it, where does our food come from, and how does it get to our plates? Discover answers to all of these questions in a new exhibition this summer at The Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Farming's New Era: From Field to Table in New York State opens Saturday, May 9 and will be on view through October 31, 2015.
Farming's New Era is a celebration of our local food production. The Farmers' Museum recognizes the importance of contemporary farming and this exhibition provides the means to share the stories of our local farmers. Farming's New Era helps visitors understand the process of farming – how our food is grown, how it's transported to us, and the countless issues facing farmers today – as told by the farmers themselves. Some of the local producers include Middlefield Orchard, Hemlock Valley Dairy Farm (Milford), Hager Hops (Cooperstown), Free Bird Farm (Palatine Bridge), and G&T Farm (Richfield Springs).
Farmers in New York State employ the latest technologies, as well as historical practices, to increase the quality and availability of their food. Today there are fewer farms and farmers, but they are producing more food and feeding more people than ever before. Thanks to the use of emerging computer and biotech developments, commercial farmers can manage crops and herds more efficiently for sale to their regional markets. Other smaller-scale farmers are using historic agricultural practices to raise desirable products well-suited to their geographical region and commercial markets.
The exhibit will consider how, using high tech or historic methods or a combination of both, New York State farms strive to be sustainable, efficient, viable, and inter-connected. New York State products and crops such as dairy, beef, apples, and hops will be used to follow food from farms to table. Interviews with local farmers will provide stories about the varied faces of New York State agriculture. Additional examples of contemporary and historic farming practices will round out the narrative. Visitors will learn where, how, and why food is grown and how it makes it to our stores and plates.
"This exhibition is especially timely," commented guest curator Suzan D. Friedlander. "New York State has such a rich agricultural history and our farmers today are providing an incredible array of crops and products. I met with regional farmers and farm families to learn from them and recount their stories. I was also able to rely on the extraordinary collections at The Farmers' Museum to provide historically relevant information, artifacts and images. It was wonderful to take part in the exhibition's creation."
SUNY Cobleskill contributes to the exhibition with displays explaining the university's role in educating aspiring farmers, emphasizing the future of agriculture with the help of current and emerging technologies.
Farming's New Era: From Field to Table in New York State is on view May 9 - October 31 at The Farmers' Museum located at 5775 State Route 80 in Cooperstown, New York. Hours: Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm (closed Mondays). Open daily 10:00 am-5:00 pm beginning May 11. Admission: Adults and juniors (ages 13-64): $12.00; seniors (65+): $10.50; youth (7-12): $6.00; children (6 and under): Free. NYSHA members are always admitted free, as are active-duty and retired career military. Through Labor Day, active-duty military and up to five family members are admitted free, through the Blue Star Museum program. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.
The exhibit is sponsored in part by New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway; Smith Ford Cooperstown, Inc.; Bank of Cooperstown; Bruce Hall Home Center; and The Otesaga Resort Hotel.