New York State Agriculture Commissioner, Richard A. Ball, just announced yesterday (August 11th) that the USDA Food and Nutrition Service has awarded a $110,000 grant to the Department of Agriculture and Markets to grow its Farm-to-School program. The grant will support producer readiness training and provide the tools, resources, and connections needed to sell their farm products to schools across the State.
The project will deliver the USDA Farm-to-School Producer Training, piloted for 50 farmers across the state. The comprehensive training plan offers producers a well-planned, peer-led program, delivered with a multi-pronged approach of experiential and action-oriented learning. Providing interested farmers and producers with the tools to access school markets and to help them develop plans to bring their goals to life.
The program aims to serve New York’s diverse and underserved agricultural communities while strengthening regional partnerships and establishing connections with New York producers. Training will also provide a pathway for New York farmers and producers to collaborate between school districts and producers to generate new partnerships, revenue streams and local, sustainable food systems.
Farm-to-school is a key component of the State’s No Student Goes Hungry initiative and the State’s 30% NYS initiative. The initiative increases the school lunch reimbursement from $0.059 per meal to $0.25 per meal for any district that purchases at least 30% of ingredients for their lunch program from New York farms.