Hochul: USDA cooperative agreements will promote farmers & producers, strengthen farm-to-school programs
Gov Kathy Hochul announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded nearly $38 million to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Education Department to further enhance the resilience of New York's food system by providing a boost to farmers and increasing access to local foods.
Her team said, “The funding will create new opportunities to purchase locally grown and produced food to support New York farmers, including those who have been traditionally underserved, and to distribute those goods to food insecure communities and to New York schools.”
Hochul said, "The Department of Agriculture and Markets and the State Education Department have been instrumental in developing strong, mutually beneficial relationships between local farmers and the communities they feed. These programs provide critical economic opportunities for farmers and producers, while also giving students and underserved populations access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy and nutritious food. This partnership and additional funding builds on our many successful state programs that not only help provide a boost to our agricultural community and feed our families, but also help strengthen New York state's food supply chain."
USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt joined New York Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball and State Education Department Commissioner Betty A. Rosa at the Capital Region BOCES Career &Technical Education Center to celebrate two cooperative agreements: the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement (LFPA) program, through AGM; and the Local Food for Schools (LFS) cooperative agreement program, through SED.
Lester Moffitt said, "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. The cooperative agreements achieved under these programs will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country."
Hochul’s team said, “AGM has been awarded $25.8 million through the LFPA to 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. Food purchases will support local and traditionally disadvantaged farmers by building and expanding economic opportunities and creating new marketing channels for them within the state while ensuring local food gets to New York families in need.
“The LFS program, run by SED, will receive nearly $12 million 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. These healthy and unique products will continue the state's goal of improving child nutrition while building new relationships between schools and local farmers.”
Ball said, "I am proud of New York's ongoing efforts to strengthen our food system and bring healthy, local foods to underserved communities, while providing economic benefits for farmers across New York. 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."
New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said, "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."
Rosa said, "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."
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, "New York is home to over 30,000 farmers who need urgent and direct help to keep operations running while grappling with financial hardship caused by the pandemic. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am proud to have helped advocate and secure this $38 million that will help keep our farms running and healthy, local food on the table at home and in schools."