ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an additional $10 million is being dedicated to the Nourish New York program, bringing the total funding dedicated to the program to $35 million. The funding will allow New York’s emergency food providers to continue to purchase surplus products from New York farmers and dairy manufacturers and deliver it to New York families in need through the end of the year, including during the holiday season, which can be a challenging time for families. Nourish New York was first announced by the Governor in April 2020 in response to the financial hardships New York’s dairy farmers were facing with the loss of key markets and the significant, increased demand New York’s food banks were seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the program started, more than 16 million pounds of dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and more have been purchased and provided to 823,883 households.
“The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, including our agricultural community and the families they feed. The Nourish New York program has successfully bridged the gap between our families, our food banks, and our farmers.” Governor Cuomo said. “Still, there is a very clear need in our communities. By extending the Nourish New York program and providing another $10 million to our regional food banks and local food providers, we can continue to support and help New Yorkers put food on the table while ensuring an economic benefit to our farmers through the holiday season, which can be a challenging time for families.”
Funding for this second round of the program is being provided from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It will be reallocated to food banks and emergency food providers through existing contracts extended through December 31, 2020. Emergency food providers can spend the money allocated to them by:
- Setting up food-drive through events/giveaways (guidance available here);
- Distributing dairy vouchers that can be redeemed in grocery stores for products like cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, and butter, throughout the state, and/or;
- Purchasing products directly from New York dairy/food manufacturers for their feeding programs.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “I thank our Governor for extending the Nourish New York program, which is successfully connecting the dots between our farmers who are struggling and our families who are in need. I am proud of the program’s reach and the relationships that have been forged. Nourish New York has provided families with fresh and nutritious local food and a much-needed market for our agricultural producers and processors. We have made great progress as a state in fighting this pandemic; however, the economic challenges continue for so many. I look forward to the next phase of this meaningful program and its lasting impact on our agricultural community and our neighbors.”
State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, “Especially during a pandemic, it’s essential to public health that people have access to sufficient quantities of nutritious food. The Governor’s Nourish initiative is particularly helpful at this time, because it addresses two problems at once, providing nutrition assistance to hungry New Yorkers and economic assistance to struggling farmers.”
Since its launch, the $25 million Nourish New York initiative has supported 3,438 food distributions, providing New York dairy, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and produce, meat, seafood, eggs and more to 823,883 households. Through the food banks’ purchases, 4,140 farms have been impacted, relieving farmers from having to dispose of surplus milk and providing growers with a place to sell their produce. The $25 million investment is on track to be spent by the end of October.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York food banks have seen a dramatic increase in demand, in some regions up to 200 percent, as many New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table. At the same time, New York’s farmers and producers have faced their own unprecedented, extreme financial difficulties. Many temporarily lost up to 50 percent of their markets through the closure of schools and restaurants.
The Nourish New York Initiative is led by:
- Kelly Cummings, Director of State Operations and Infrastructure
- Richard Ball, Commissioner of Agriculture
- Rossana Rosado, Secretary of State
- Karim Camara, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services
- Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits
- Mike Hein, Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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