ALBANY — State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced FeedMore WNY has reached a milestone in the Nourish New York program, purchasing over 1.6 million pounds of surplus food from New York farmers since the launch of Governor Cuomo’s Nourish New York initiative last year. This includes 597,827 pounds of nutritious dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, 895,952 pounds of produce such as cabbage, potatoes, and greens, and 181,007 pounds of meat that have been delivered to thousands of households throughout the Western NY region. In total, the organization has purchased more than $2.6 million in agricultural products to help New York farms.
Commissioner Ball said “As we reach the summer season, the demand for food will continue to rise with more children out of school. Our partnership with FeedMore WNY has been crucial in making the link that has helped keep our farms and food businesses going while keeping families fed. I appreciate all the efforts made by FeedMore WNY to build and maintain relationships with New York State producers and farmers to continue to provide nutritious foods.”
Tara Ellis, President and CEO of FeedMore WNY said, “In 2020, FeedMore WNY distributed more than 17.5 million pounds of food through our food distribution network to our Western New York neighbors in need – a 33% increase compared with 2019. We are extremely grateful to New York State and the Nourish New York for creating this program during such a critical time to ensure that a variety of healthy food is available to every hungry child, family, older adult and veteran in Western New York.”
Purchases have been made directly from New York produce farms and dairy manufacturers, including Kreher’s Farms (Clarence), Eden Valley Growers (Eden), Agbotics Project #1 (Sackets Harbor), Craigs Station Creamery (Pavilion), and Slate Foods (New York City).
Dave Walczak, Operation’s Manager for Eden Valley Growers and the Western New York Food Hub said, “The growers at Eden Valley Growers and the Western New York Food Hub are very excited to be a supplier of their locally grown produce for FeedMore WNY and their food truck that travels throughout Buffalo. Each week throughout the local season, we will continue to offer additional produce as the harvest progresses. The opportunity presented to us by New York State and Nourish New York are much appreciated.”
FeedMore WNY supplies locally grown foods to nearly 300 community partners and programs throughout the Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua counties. Visit the FeedMore WNY website for information about their other meal services, such as the Meal on Wheels, and to locate food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters within the area.
Nourish New York Statewide
Currently, Nourish New York has helped New York’s food banks and emergency food providers purchase more than 29.7 million pounds of agricultural products or nearly 25 million meals for New York households. Nourish NY food purchases have benefitted 4,178 farms across the state.
The New York State Budget included an additional $50 million for the program, bringing the total amount provided to New York’s food banks to $85 million since the program’s launch in May 2020. The program provides the funding directly to the state’s emergency food providers to help them buy surplus products from the state’s farmers and producers, who lost markets for their products due to the pandemic. Those agricultural products are then provided to New York consumers, many of whom were thrown into financial crisis by the COVID-19 outbreak, at drive-through food distributions, and through food box and school meal programs.
The Nourish New York program is administered by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Health. The initiative is being led by a special task force created by Governor Cuomo, which includes:
- 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
The State is asking any philanthropies that would like to help the State’s food banks to contact Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits at COVIDPhilanthropies@exec.ny.gov.
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 been faced with their own unprecedented extreme financial difficulties. Many have lost up to 50 percent of their markets through the closure of schools and restaurants, leaving them without a place to sell their perishable products.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
For more articles out of New York, click here.