Watershed Agricultural Council, Recipient

New York City is home to nearly nine million people, all of whom depend on a steady supply of clean water from their upstate watersheds. For 20 years, the Watershed Agricultural Council (Council) has been one of the safe keepers of the NYC water supply systems and the area's high-quality drinking water, with partner, New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The Council works with farm and forest landowners in the Croton and Catskill/Delaware Watersheds to manage an array of watershed protection programs that ultimately benefit water quality for water users downstream. Along with its clean water mandate and protecting over 21,000 acres of farmland, the Council oversees several Payment for Ecoservices, including its flagship farm-to-market initiative, the Pure Catskills buy local campaign.

Entering its tenth year, Pure Catskills brings farm, food, and wood producers together to give their businesses a "leg up in the expanding global market." Tara Collins, Communications Director for the Council, notes that Pure Catskills is "the most visible face we have out there." To make it even more visible, Tara reached out to one by one® when she learned the Council could win $500 towards the purchase of promotional products.

Upon receiving the go-ahead, she decided to use the donation for organic beige T-shirts imprinted with the "Buy fresh, buy local, buy Pure Catskills" message emblazoned on them. The "vintage" T-shirts are worn by staff and given away as prizes to promote the Pure Catskills campaign at food samplings, county fairs, and other regional events. "We want to share the love about buying fresh and buying local," said Tara. "Every time we buy food, we have a choice on how to spend our dollars locally . and invest in our local communities."

So far, the T-shirts have been "really well-received," she said. "People routinely ask us, 'How can I get one of them?'"

For more information about Watershed Agricultural Council, please visit
http://www.nycwatershed.org/