ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $1.5 million has been awarded to 16 Farm-to-School projects to increase the use of New York farm products in schools and boost the agricultural economy. As part of Round 5 of the Farm-to-School program, the projects will benefit more than 120,000 students in 144 school districts across the State. Funding for the Farm-to-School program is a key component of the Governor’s 2020-21 Executive Budget and supports the Governor’s No Student Goes Hungry initiative.
“This is a win-win that provides students with nutritious meals while also strengthening New York farms,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud to see the growth of this initiative that will also help encourage healthy habits in every corner of this great state.”
The Farm-to-School program increases the volume and variety of locally grown and produced food in schools, provides new markets for New York’s farmers, improves student health, and educates young people about agriculture. The program also supports the expansion of the NY Thursdays Program, a school meal initiative that uses local, farm-fresh foods on Thursdays throughout the school year.
The funding will be used to hire Farm-to-School coordinators; train food service staff; provide nutrition education in classrooms and cafeterias; purchase equipment to support food preparation; and support the purchase of more local farm products, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, and beef used in school lunches. The list of organizations to receive Farm-to-School grant funding is below.
Western New York
- Buffalo City School District: $70,812 for the Buffalo Farm-to-School is on the Move! project, which will integrate Farm-to-School activities across the cafeteria, classroom, and community by using a food truck to serve school lunches made with local ingredients to16 high schools on a rotating basis.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County: $89,911 for the From Carrots to Curriculum project, which will work with 6,584 students in12 school districts to create a sustainable Farm-to-School program.
- Forestville School District: $100,000 for the Farm-to-School: Community/School Engagement project. Forestville Central School District will partner with Pine Valley Central School District to serve four schools, benefiting 996 students and 18 farmers.
- Frontier Central School District: $88,459 for Frontier Farm-to-School Grant project, Frontier Central School District will serve as a central kitchen for 3 districts in Erie County to process, freeze and store local farm products. Potential to benefit 5,000 students in 3 school districts.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County: $96,824 for the Seneca County Farm-to-School project, which will build on existing Harvest of the Month and NY Thursdays practices and ensure Farm-to-School activities for 3,287 students in four districts.
- Broome-Tioga BOCES: $100,000 for the Broome-Tioga BOCES Farm-to-School Warehouse Initiative, which will develop a central warehouse to alleviate a distribution barrier and significantly increase New York State procurement for 31,290 students in 15 school districts.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County: $99,849 for the Farm-to-School launch in Lewis County. The project will allow the hire of a Farm-to-School Coordinator to implement the 3 C’s of Farm-to-School: the cafeteria, the classroom, and the community, benefiting 3,957 students in five school districts.
- St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES: $99,980 for the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Farm-to-School Program. The project provides value-added processing, technical assistance, and product distribution to 21 schools benefiting 25,000 students.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties: $100,000 for the Local Foods – Healthy Schools project. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties will collaborate with Capital Region BOCES to develop and implement a Pilot Farm-to-School program in five school districts to benefit 4,018 students.
- Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES: $100,000 for the OHM Farm-to-School: Increasing Capacity and School Engagement project, which will work with districts to help them develop and execute local food implantation plans and develop infrastructure to facilitate these purchases. The project will benefit 9,258 students in 15 districts.
- Capital Roots: $100,000 for the Capital Region Farm-to-School Initiative: Connecting Underserved Schools with Local Producers. The project will build on an existing Farm-to-School project to connect their established local produce distribution system with local schools. It will also fund the purchase of a commercial peeler for processing root vegetables.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County: $100,000 for the CCE Saratoga County Farm-to-School Project Phase 2 project. Saratoga Springs Central School District will process and freeze NYS produce purchased from Pitney Meadows Community Farm to maximize buying power while produce is in season. Project will work with four school districts in Saratoga County to benefit 2,000 students.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County: $91,400 for the Farm-to-School Transportation of Fresh Produce project. Building on the efforts of a current Farm-to-School Grant, the acquisition of a refrigerated truck will allow the transport of NYS farm fresh produce to six schools benefiting 13,800 students.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Washington County: $88,686 for the Washington County Farm-to-School project, which will hire a Farm-to-School Coordinator to work with five school districts to increase access of NYS farm products in school meals and engage 3,275 students in Farm-to-School activities through farm tours, taste tests, and class lessons.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County: $98,538 for the Southern Catskills Farm-to-School Project. The project will work to raise awareness of and demand for local foods in 10 schools benefiting 9,258 students. Students will receive education from local farmers and experience taste test seminars in their cafeterias.
- Southampton Union Free School District: $99,389 for the East End Farm-to-School Project, which is a collaborative effort of three school districts on the South Fork of Long Island to benefit 2,000 students. The project includes working with 14 NYS producers to increase the capacity of schools to purchase and serve NYS farm products in school meals programs.
This is the fifth round of funding awarded to support farm-to-school programs in schools and educational organizations. Since the Governor launched New York’s Farm-to-School program in 2015, 43 projects have benefited 526,000 students in 356 school districts. In addition, funding provided in Round 3 and Round 4 of the program has resulted in school spending on farm products of nearly $4.4 million.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “One of New York agriculture’s best success stories is its Farm-to-School program. Through the support of the program, our school districts are taking incredible steps to serve fresh fruits and vegetables and locally produced meats and dairy products from New York farmers, bringing thousands of students food and beverages that not only taste good but that are good for them.”
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “As the State’s administrator of the USDA pilot program for the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables, we at OGS stand strongly behind the expansion of Governor Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to make sure No Student Goes Hungry. The people who grow, distribute, and sell food all benefit when students learn where the food on their cafeterias come from and the importance of a healthy diet.”
Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said, “It’s imperative that we provide our children with nutritious food options while they are at school so that they are able to better focus in the classroom. New York’s Farm-to-School Program allows districts to increase access to healthy food while teaching good eating habits and utilizing many of the locally produced foods that our state has to offer, it is a truly remarkable program.”
State Education Department Acting Commissioner Shannon Tahoe said, “We know that when a student has the benefit of a healthy meal they are better prepared to be a successful learner, so it makes sense that districts are taking advantage of New York’s Farm-to-School program which ensures that students across the state have access to healthy, locally sourced meals. NYSED will continue to engage with our partners at Agriculture and Markets to increase participation in this program for schools across the state.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Jen Metzger said, “We have a tremendous opportunity in New York to provide healthful, locally grown foods to our school children while supporting our family farms and a thriving agricultural economy, and as the Senate Agriculture Chair and a member of the Education Committee, I am thrilled to see this strong commitment by our State to supporting farm-to-school initiatives. As the representative of Sullivan County, I know that schools there will greatly benefit from funds awarded for the Catskills Farm-to-School Project, which will help struggling farmers and help improve health outcomes for our children—a double win.”
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo said, “Congratulations to Broome-Tioga BOCES and the other grantees for their leadership in delivering fresh, local food to our students. I’ve seen firsthand how the Farm-to-School program gets students excited about local foods and the farmers who produced them. These investments will help build the needed capacity for this program to continue growing and expanding.”
Superintendent of Forestville Central School District Renee Garrett said, “Forestville and Pine Valley are extremely fortunate to be able to continue our important work surrounding the Farm-to-School initiative. This means so much to our schools, our communities, our farmers, and most importantly our students! The Farm-to-School funding will allow us to expand our purchasing abilities related to bringing farm fresh food in our schools. Specifically, this round of funding will focus on bringing locally sourced beef, poultry, and pork into our schools. We are looking forward to deepening our relationships with our local farmers. This funding will help our students eat healthy, farm fresh meals and will stimulate our local economy. Farm-to-School is a win-win for everyone!
Forestville Poultry Farmer Sarah LoManto said, “I’m proud to be a part of the Farm-to-School movement. Students are more willing to try new foods when they know where it comes from. It’s really wonderful that our school is choosing to buy from local farmers like me. It supports our local economy.”
St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Food Service Director Artie Frego said, “I attribute the success of our Farm to School program to the strong partnership between the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County. The relationship we have built thanks to this grant funding has had a measurable impact on getting fresh, locally grown produce in school cafeterias throughout our region. We are also fortunate to have a strong partner in Big Spoon Kitchen, which sets our program apart by allowing us to provide schools with ready-to-eat products.”
Steve and Gayle Fobare, owners of Fobare’s Fruits, said, “Farm-to-School has been an amazing program which has became a big part of our business and lively hood. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this program and to be able to supply our local schools with a locally grown high quality apples. We would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication that it takes to make programs like this work.”
Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County Executive Director Patrick Ames said, “Extension is incredibly proud to be a partner in the Farm-to-School movement. The work undertaken by Extension’s Local Foods Program over the past few years, including the creation of the Harvest Kitchen, has helped make this unique program possible. To my knowledge, we are the only Farm-to-School Program in the State providing fresh cut and processed fruits and vegetables to our school dining services. The efficiency this creates makes it much more realistic for our schools to take advantage of buying local. The work of our processing partner, Big Spoon Kitchen, is invaluable.”
Governor’s No Student Goes Hungry Initiative
The Farm-to-School Program is a major part of the State’s ongoing efforts to increase the amount of fresh, local foods served in schools and to increase New York farmer’s market share. It is a key component of the Governor’s No Student Goes Hungry initiative, first introduced in his 2018 State of the State Address.
The New York State Office of General Services has also been a partner in the expansion of the Farms-to-School programs through the USDA Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Project. There are 244 school participating in the pilot during the 2019-20 school year, with more than 52.6 million lunches served annually.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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