New York Grown Food for New York Kids
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
September 21, 2018
Nearly 1.7 million children in New York State receive meals at K–12 schools; for many children from food-insecure households, these meals are a primary source of nutritious food.
New York State has some of the most productive fruit, vegetable, dairy, and livestock farms in the nation. Farm-to-school programs can build upon this asset by letting schools buy and feature fresh, locally produced food from farms—resulting in the dual advantage of giving students access to healthy foods and farmers access to new revenue streams through school sales. Currently, K–12 public schools in New York State that receive State funds for food purchasing spend more than $420 million on food. If more of these State funds were used to purchase locally produced foods from farms, the result would be beneficial to both New York children’s health and the economic vitality of rural communities and farmers. In 2018, American Farmland Trust (AFT) brought together the New York Grown Food for New York Kids coalition—a collaboration among public health, anti-hunger, school, farm, food, and environmental organizations—to expand State support for farm-to-school programs in New York. In 2018, NYSHealth awarded American Farmland Trust (AFT) a grant to grow the constituency of support for the farm-to-school movement in New York State.
Under this grant, AFT will build on the momentum of the New York Grown Food for New York Kids campaign. It will monitor and document the campaign’s first-year implementation, which includes work to increase State reimbursement to schools that use funds to purchase fresh food grown in New York State and connect more schools with local farms and food producers. It will collect data on both efforts from the New York State Department of Education and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to document the impact of expanded farm-to-school funding support. This information will be combined with results of a survey of New York School Nutrition Association members and interviews with administrative and school food staff. AFT will prepare a report on New York’s farm-to-school movement that addresses school participation, procurement, initial impact, and impact on rural economies and farmers. Finally, it will educate and foster support for additional State farm-to-school funding by widely sharing success stories and encouraging policymakers to visit sites participating in the program.