Ag & Markets awards $110,000 to Farm to School


New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said Thursday that the Department of Agriculture and Markets has been awarded a $110,000 USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) grant to grow its Farm-to-School program.
The grant will support producer readiness trainings that will help New York’s farmers access the farm-to-school market, and provide the tools, resources, and connections needed to sell their farm products to schools across the State.
“Farm-to-school programs are key to our agency’s goal of connecting more New York farmers with new markets and ensuring that more New Yorkers have access to fresh, local, nutritious foods,” Commissioner Ball said. “I’m proud that we have been selected to receive this prestigious USDA grant so that we can help more producers get their products to kids who need them most.”
The project will deliver the USDA Farm-to-School Producer Training, Bringing the Farm to School, piloted for 50 farmers across the state.
The comprehensive training curriculum offers producers a well-planned program delivered with a multi-pronged approach of experiential, peer-led, and action-oriented learning.
The program aims to serve New York’s diverse and underserved agricultural communities while strengthening regional partnerships and establishing connections with New York producers.
Trainings provide interested farmers and producers with the tools to access school markets and to help them develop plans to bring their goals to life.
Training will also provide a pathway for New York farmers and producers to understand how collaborative efforts between school districts and producers generate new partnerships, revenue streams and local, sustainable food systems.
The project will be administered by Ag & Markets with trainings delivered by American Farmland Trust and Cornell University.
The New York State Farm-to-School Program launched in 2015 to increase the purchase of local food by school districts and individual schools.
It has grown from a $325,000 program in 2015 to $1.5 million in 2022.
A total of 57 school districts or not-for-profit organizations working with schools and farms have received over $6.3 million since 2015 to support farm-to-school efforts across New York State.