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Food donation efforts highlight importance of additional food security programs in state budget
Submitted by New York Farm Bureau
New York Farm Bureau members donated nearly 6.4 million pounds of food to regional foodbanks across the state last year through the “Harvest for All” program. The number was announced this month at the annual American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. That was the second-highest donation total in the country for 2022, behind Florida. NYFB was awarded a $250 grant from Nationwide for its effort which will be donated to Feeding New York State.
In addition, NYFB’s YF&R program also was recognized for its 699 hours of volunteer service and for collecting $30,900 in donations last year to the regional food banks across the state.
The “Harvest for All” donation program is a nationwide annual farm donation partnership linking Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. In New York, NYFB’s YF&R Committee and Feeding New York State administer the statewide donation partnership. The food is then distributed among the 10 Feeding America food banks throughout the state.
The work highlights the importance of our regional food banks in helping reduce food insecurity in the state. NYFB and Feeding NYS continue to advocate for full funding of Nourish NY and the “Healthy School Meals for All” programs in the New York state budget. The vital programs, in part, provide food banks with resources to purchase healthy, local food, which benefit New Yorkers in need and the state’s farming community.
Christina Kohler, New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers chair, said, “New York’s farmers have long prioritized helping their communities and people in need all across the state. I would like to thank all of our partners for another successful year of food donations, and we look forward to building a stronger food system in the state to make sure no New Yorker goes hungry. This includes supporting budget funding for the Nourish NY and the ‘Healthy School Meals for All’ programs that assist every person in our state with putting food on their tables while also lifting up our farming community.”
Dan Egan, Feeding New York State executive director, said, "Farm donations are at the heart of our work. Our food bank community is deeply grateful to New York's generous farmers for their donations of top-quality, healthy food. At the same time, we all recognize that donations alone cannot do the job. Additional public investment in Nourish New York and universal school meals are also vital. Nourish New York is a nationally recognized, highly effective, efficient program that supports New York's farms while aiding hungry communities – it is New Yorkers feeding New Yorkers. Likewise, universal school meals is a smart public policy. No child should go hungry, and we know that investments in school meals create more value than they cost. Together, Nourish New York and universal school meals are smart, effective policies that must be supported."
In nearly two decades of work with the “Harvest for All” program, farms in New York have given around 127 million pounds of food to support the work by the regional food banks in our state. That translates into around 100 million meals.
For more specific information on local food donation projects, contact your regional food bank.