State Health Commissioner Spends the Day at the Great New York State Fair Celebrating Role of Local Agriculture and Highlighting Importance of Fresh Produce to Community Health

Visit Included Tour of Fairgrounds, Emergency Operations Center, Environmental Health base, Infirmary, Vaccination Clinic, State Agency Booths, and More

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 1, 2022) – State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett today visited The Great New York State Fair, a yearly celebration of agriculture and an exposition of all New York State has to offer. The Commissioner toured many health-related exhibits and highlighted the importance of fresh, local food to individual and community health.

Each year, close to a million New Yorkers visit the fairgrounds just outside of Syracuse to see exhibits, attend concerts, enjoy the rides, and learn about the state's agricultural industry. With daily attendance close to 100,000 some days, The Great New York State Fair also has a healthcare infrastructure similar to a small city, with an Emergency Operations Center, an Environmental Health base, and an Infirmary. Commissioner Bassett stopped by all three to meet with the staff and learn about the inner workings of each operation.

"Good nutrition is a cornerstone of good health, and that nutrition is enabled by access to fresh, locally-grown food," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "New York State has a rich and vibrant agricultural community, producing an abundance of fresh foods -- from apples, grapes and other crops, to the many meat and dairy products celebrated here. Our challenge is often making sure these foods are available and accessible to all New Yorkers."

Dr. Bassett continued: "The Fair's healthcare infrastructure, created to ensure safe and healthy enjoyment for all, is most impressive in size and scope, and the staff who support those services deserve our thanks and praise."

Exploring the connection between local food and nutrition, Commissioner Bassett visited the Taste NY Pop-up Market, showcasing more than 100 unique food and craft beverages from across the State, as well as the Dairy Building and the Cow Barn, among other stops. She also made sure to spend time with the State Department of Health employees staffing the Department's booth in the Science and Industry Building.

For nearly 30 years, the New York State Department of Health has supported locally grown fruits and vegetables for WIC participants through sales at farmers' markets.The Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides checks to women, infants and children through the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) and to seniors through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for the purchase of locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased with checks at farmers' markets during the summer and fall. The program runs from June to November 30.

The Commissioner's final stop of the day was a visit to the State's COVID-19 vaccination clinic, established to offer first and second dose vaccinations or boosters to eligible New Yorkers five years of age and older. The clinic is open from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. every day of the Fair, inside the Exposition Center. Access is included with Fair admission. There is no charge for the vaccines or boosters, and insurance is not required. The Department and Commissioner Bassett urge eligible New Yorkers to ensure they and their children get all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses as a new school year approaches.

Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters here.

For information about The Great New York State Fair, visit here.