Farm to College

Learn how FINYS is working with colleges across the state to increase purchasing of New York produce and to engage college students with local food and farms.

On the Plate at SUNY

New report, "On the Plate at SUNY: Growing Health, Farms and Jobs with Local Food," found that if the State Univeristy of New York (SUNY) spent at least 25% of its food dollars on fresh and minimally processed foods grown in New York, it would create $54 million in economic output in New York State. 

Download the report

Farm to SUNY Pilot Project

The Farm to SUNY pilot project set out to demonstrate that colleges and universities are profitable market opportunities for New York farmers. The project focused on the State University of New York (SUNY) network of campuses to ultimately capture more of the buying power of 29 public colleges that spend over $101 million each year on food. Read the Scaling Up Farm to SUNY report here.

Project Outcomes:

  • Increase purchasing of New York vegetables and fruits by four SUNY campuses
  • Engage college students in their local food and farming communities 
  • Give campus staff the tools and knowledge to continue the program post-pilot

With support from a USDA Specialty Crop Grant, FINYS led this effort working with the Sustainability Programs and Dining Services at University at Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Oswego.

Student-led educational and marketing campaigns have been core to the project’s mission and success. Sustainability interns designed and promoted local food activities and events, including the New York Campus Crunch and broad participation in National Kale Day. They taught their fellow students about New York agriculture and delicious healthy eating. They also conducted surveys to measure students’ interest in and awareness of local food.

Close collaboration between the project’s “supply technical assistance team,” dining services, partner distributors, and farmers is also central to the effort. Participating distributors, Carioto Produce, C’s Farms, FreshPoint, Mento Produce, and Red Barn worked closely with FINYS and the campus teams to source more products from local farmers. 

Getting Started with Farm to College

Want to start a Farm to College project on your campus?  Check out your campus Sustainability Program to find like-minded students and faculty, and the resources on our Community page.

Scaling Up Farm to SUNY

In the premiere issue of our Scaling Up series, learn about the successes and challenges of the Farm to SUNY in this brief report on our pilot project experience.