ALBANY — The New York Farm to School Institute, a year-long professional development opportunity for school teams to develop and refine their Farm to School programs, is seeking applicants for its fifth cohort. Since 2019, 24 schools have received training on buying New York grown food, and are impacting more than 15,000 students statewide, and 1.1 million in New York City.
The Institute is coordinated by American Farmland Trust’s Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) program, and supports food service staff, educators, administrators, and community partners in New York schools to help bring more New York grown food into the cafeteria and classroom. This ongoing training and educational program will assist participating schools in creating successful Farm to School programs and connecting with farmers. Upon completion of the Institute, schools become alumni members of a New York Farm to School Institute Network – continuing to share best practices and resources with others championing farm to school for years to come.
“Farm to school programs help students recognize the importance of local food systems and ensures access to nourishing local food through the cafeteria and classroom,” said Stephanie Hsu, American Farmland Trust’s FINYS Manager. “New York farmers and producers benefit, which in turn strengthens the local economy. It’s a win-win for everyone. The New York Farm to School Institute offers schools a clear and simple pathway for farm to school program development; students will learn where our food comes from, connect with the people who grow that food, and understand why eating healthy and local is important. Each year I’m amazed at what our Institute school teams can accomplish in their Farm to School efforts in just a year!”
Windsor Central School District, a participant of the 2019 inaugural Institute said, “Our participation in this program has been a bright spot for our school community in light of the difficult times we have experienced. The connections we have made to the Farm to School (F2S) program staff and other participating schools have been very helpful. We have learned a great deal about having a large farm and have received valuable coaching and support from so many smart, talented and ambitious individuals. Please continue to have schools share their work with one another. This was especially helpful in encouraging us to create/replicate innovative programming for our Windsor students.”
Key features of the NY Farm to School Institute include:
- A three-day kickoff retreat from June 28-30, 2023, at the Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam Junction, NY.
- Farm to School action plan development support and an implementation award.
- Coaching, workshops, and peer networking.
- In-person celebratory Spring 2024 gathering.
Interested school teams are encouraged to apply by March 30th at www.finys.org/institute.
The New York State Farm to School Institute is a project of Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS), a collaborative initiative led by American Farmland Trust.
About American Farmland Trust: American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.
–American Farmland Trust