Help New York Schools Serve More Fresh, Healthy New York Grown Food to New York Kids
With your help, this year we have an important opportunity to put more schools on the path to purchase and serve more fresh, healthy, farm-fresh food to our children in this year's state budget. The New York Farm to School grants program and the New York State Farm to School Purchasing Incentive, funded in the state budget, work hand in hand to bring more New York grown food to students in K-12 schools. These programs are poised to help New York rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting our farmers, strengthening resilient local food supply chains, and contributing to public health.
AFT’s recent “Growing Resilience” report revealed that in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, schools have remained committed to farm to school, and with continued state support, by 2025 these programs can help schools spend $250 million on food from New York farms, generating $360 million in economic activity statewide. These programs will also increase access to healthy, farm-fresh food for 900,000 kids across the state by 2025. At a time when many children face food insecurity and schools have become a primary source of free meals for many hungry New York families, helping schools to purchase and serve more fresh local food to kids is an important way to keep them healthy. But it won’t happen without your help.
TAKE ACTION: Call or write your state representatives today to let them know you support strong funding for both of these critical programs which help schools put more healthy, local food on our children's plates while supporting our state's farmers!
“I am a constituent in your district, and this year I am calling to ask you to take two actions to support our state’s Farm to School programs. First, to support $10 million for the Farm to School Reimbursement Incentive and $1.5 million for the Farm to School Grants program in the state fiscal year 2022 enacted budget. Second, to support language to ensure that all schools who qualified for the incentive during the 2019-2020 school year receive their reimbursement, no matter which program they are using to serve meals to students during the state of emergency that has extended through the 2020-21 school year. Farm to School programs help grow our farm economy and strengthen our communities while improving the health of our kids. Thank you for considering these requests!“
Public Health and Economic Benefits of Farm to School
- Growing Resilience, a report by American Farmland Trust, found that within five years, 75% of schools surveyed anticipated reaching 30% spending on New York grown food for lunch, if given the right support. Achieving this outcome would cause schools to spend $250 million at New York farms while increasing access to healthy, New York grown and raised food for nearly 900,000 K-12 students by 2025.
- Schools across New York State serve breakfast, lunch and after-school meals annually to 1.7 million children, and studies show that providing more locally-grown, fresh and minimally-processed foods to our students is an important way to improve health outcomes and academic performance while instilling healthy habits.
- Students get up to two-thirds of their daily calories from school meals, and for food-insecure children, school meals can be their only daily dependable source of food. Farm to School is an effective way to improve access to healthy food for our most vulnerable children.
- According to recent studies, each dollar invested in Farm to School activities stimulates, on average, an additional $1.67 of local economic activity.
- Opening K-12 schools as a new market channel helps farmers diversify their business and remain economically viable and resilient.
Spread the word! Help us communicate about the importance of farm to school and serving more New York grown food to kids in school with #NYFood4NYKids.
Photo by Josh Baldo, taken at Buffalo Public Schools