WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt joined New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball and State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa in Albany to announce the signing of two cooperative agreements between USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and the state under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program and the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program. The funding provided by these programs will enable the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYS AGM) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to strengthen and create new pathways for the purchase and distribution of locally and regionally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved farmers and producers to local communities and schools.
“USDA is excited to partner with New York to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities and in schools,” said Under Secretary Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program and the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”
With the LFPA program, NYS AGM will implement the New York Food for New York Families Program to create a more resilient statewide food system that supports local farms and provides high quality, nutritious food to communities facing food insecurity.
“I am proud of New York’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its food system and our work to bring healthy, local foods to underserved communities while providing economic benefits for our farmers across New York,” said Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “We are so pleased to be awarded nearly $26 million through USDA’s LFPA grant program, which will allow us to build on these accomplishments and significantly further our reach to farmers and families in need in every corner of our state.”
Separately, through the LFS program, the New York State Education Department has been awarded nearly $12 million that will be used to provide schools with additional resources to purchase local and regional foods and beverages to serve children during the school day through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The program will build new relationships between schools and local farmers while continuing the state’s goal of improving child nutrition.
“New York’s farms and food producers are at the heart of ensuring students have healthy locally sourced food that they need to support learning and development. Together, with our outstanding child nutrition partners statewide and at the USDA, we continue to grow and strengthen our networks to provide healthful New York food for students, so they have access to the wholesome meals they need each day,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr.
“Schools are an integral part of every community in our diverse state, and we strive to foster deep connections to food and farming. I am thrilled the Department’s Child Nutrition staff are working hard to further that partnership and will be a key part of this important cooperation among districts, New York’s wonderful farms, and historically underserved food producers and processors. These concerted efforts will result in healthier, happier students who are better prepared to thrive in school,” said State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa.
Through both programs, NYS AGM and NYSED will increase the access to fresh, healthy, locally grown foods in underserved communities across the state and provide nutritious, healthy meals for students while introducing and teaching them about fresh, local produce while investing in small New York state businesses to cultivate a stable, thriving local food system.
USDA looks forward to continuing to sign agreements under these innovative programs. More information is available on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program and Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program webpages.