Local Lunches: A “Win-Win” for New York State’s Farmers and Students
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
June 6, 2018
Farm-to-school food programs have long been heralded as a “win-win” for farmers and students alike. Farmers find a wider audience for their goods, while students consume more fresh foods, which can lead to better health and academic performance.
In the State budget for the fiscal year 2019, New York enacted an ambitious “No Student Goes Hungry” program, which includes raising the State reimbursement rate for school meals from less than 6 cents to 25 cents per meal for every district that spends at least 30% of their food budget on locally grown or produced products.
This issue brief examines the history and the implementation of this policy, and how it compares to similar programs enacted by other states. New York’s new reimbursement rate of 25 cents per meal is the most generous in the nation. The overall influence and effectiveness of the policy in delivering the promised “win-win” results remains to be seen, but New York has taken an unprecedented step in ensuring healthy meals for its students, and healthy investment in its local economies.