Help New York Schools Serve More Fresh, Healthy New York Grown Food to New York Kids
Last year, American Farmland Trust and the New York Grown Food for New York Kids coalition worked closely with Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to double funding for the Farm to School Grants program while creating a ground-breaking Farm to School incentive program which quadruples the state’s per-meal reimbursement for schools that spend 30 percent of their lunch budget on food from New York farms. In practice, these two programs work closely together to help schools purchase and serve more healthy, New York grown food in school cafeterias while also supporting our state’s farmers.
This year, we need your help to urge the governor and the legislature to continue funding these impactful programs.
In the FY2020 State Budget proposals in the Executive, Senate and Assembly, all proposed to continue funding the Farm to School Incentive Program. The Senate proposed a critical increase funding for the Farm to School Grants program to over $4 million to help schools reach the challenging, yet attainable, 30 percent threshold.
We are urging the governor and the legislature to include $10 million in funding for the Farm to School Incentive and $3.4 million for the Farm to School Grants program in this year’s Enacted State Budget to continue to help all schools purchase fresh, healthy food from New York farmers to serve to our children.
How You Can Help
It is critical for your state representatives to hear that you support helping schools across the state serve more healthy, fresh, local food to our children. Please call or write your state representatives before April 1, 2019 to urge their strong support for the Farm to School Incentive and Farm to School grants programs, which work together to help K-12 schools serve more New York grown foods to students across New York state.
- Write a letter to your state representatives using this quick and easy form.
- Call your Senate and Assembly reprsentatives urging their support -- sample script provided below.
- Get active on social media with #NYFood4NYKids, and tag @NYGovCuomo and your state representatives.
Sample Script: "Hello, my name is [your name]. I'm a constituent in your district. I'm calling to urge you to include $10 million in funding for the Farm to School Incentive and $3.4 million for the Farm to School Grants program in this year's state budget to help all schools purchase fresh, healthy local food from New York farmers. Farm to School is good for our children’s health, good for farmers, and good for the state's economy. Thank you for your time and consideration."
Public Health and Economic Benefits of Farm to School
- 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.
- For food-insecure children, school meals may be their only dependable source of nutrition. Farm to School is an effective way to improve access to healthy food for our most vulnerable children.
- According to the National Farm to School Network, 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