New York farmers donate record amount to regional food banksby jmaloni
New York Farm Bureau's "Harvest for All" program had its best year yet. With the final donation efforts tallied for 2013, farmers across the state gave nearly 9.3 million pounds of food to regional food banks, including those in upstate, New York City and Long Island. This was the largest number to date since the program began a decade ago. Including the 2013 totals, New York farmers have contributed more than 40 million pounds of food over the past 10 years.
The food is collected through the "Harvest for All" donation program, a nationwide annual farm donation partnership linking the Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. In New York, NYFB's Young Farmers Committee and the Food Bank Association of New York State administer the statewide donation partnership. Under the project, NYFB members donate excess farm products to the 10 New York State Feeding America food banks.
The 2013 amount placed New York as the third largest contributor in the country behind only farmers in Florida and California who have longer growing seasons.
Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president, said, "This effort displays the heartfelt generosity of the farm community in this state that consistently steps up to the plate to help those in need. The partnership with the Food Bank Association is one that works to get healthy food from the fields and orchards and into the homes of low-income New Yorkers. I congratulate all those involved for having another successful year."
Nicole Rawleigh, NYFB Young Farmer Committee chair, said, "I am very proud of our farmers' record-breaking effort this past year. The Young Farmer Committee volunteers at the regional food banks, and we have seen first-hand the difference this food makes in the lives of people in our communities."
Sharon M. Smith, executive director of the Food Bank Association, stated, "Over the past 10 years, more than 33 million meals have been put on New Yorkers' tables thanks to the support of New York farmers. On behalf of all the NYS food banks and our New York neighbors who have shared in the Harvest for All program, we want to express our deepest gratitude for NY Farm Bureau farmers for their generosity and congratulate them on this milestone accomplishment."