Help New York Schools Serve More Fresh, Healthy New York Grown Food to New York Kids
This year, we are urging the state to take important action to put more schools on the path of purchasing and serving more fresh, healthy, local food to our children. According to “Growing Opportunity,” a new report from American Farmland Trust, with the right support from the state, schools could increase spending on New York grown food to $150 million, increasing access to healthy, local food to 700,000 students by 2024.
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 and raised food to students in K-12 schools. This year’s state budget is under negotiation right now, and the Governor and the State legislature are considering adjustments to these programs to ensure they help more schools buy food from New York farms to serve to our students.
We ask you to join us in raising your voice to ask the state to continue funding the Farm to School Reimbursement Incentive while expanding it to all school meals in future years, and increase funding for the Farm to School grants program to build the support schools need now to purchase and serve more New York grown food to New York kids.
Call or write your state representatives in the senate and assembly 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!
Sample script: “I am a constituent in your district, and this year I am calling to ask you to to take three actions to support our state’s Farm to School programs. First, to maintain funding for the Farm to School Reimbursement Incentive at $10 million. Second that you work to expand this program beyond lunch in future years to incentivize purchases of local food for all school meals. And finally, I ask you to support an increase in funding for the Farm to School grants program to $3 million to build a support network to help schools increase their purchases of New York grown food. 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!“
- Stay tuned for action alerts from the New York Grown Food for New York Kids coalition! Sign up here.
- Download our Communications Toolkit for talking points, sample social media posts, infographics and more.
Public Health and Economic Benefits of Farm to School
- Growing Opportunity for Farm to School, a new report by American Farmland Trust, found that within five years, 72% 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 nearly $150 million at New York farms while increasing access to healthy, New York grown and raised food for nearly 700,000 K-12 students by 2024.
- According to the New York State Department of Health, nearly 1 in 3 children are obese or overweight, a record high. 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.
Photo by Josh Baldo, taken at Buffalo Public Schools