Proposals must be received by Nov. 7

ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that $1.5 million is available for eligible school districts to support the growth of Farm-to-School programs across New York State.

This program helps Kindergarten through Grade 12 schools to increase the purchase of locally grown and produced food for school meals and provides increased economic benefits to New York's farmers. The Farm-to-School Program is a key component of the Governor's No Student Goes Hungry initiative, which will begin providing added reimbursements under the 30 percent New York State initiative this school year.

"We know that serving our children healthy, local meals means they are better, more productive students and that they are more likely to continue eating healthier foods as they get older," Governor Cuomo said. "Programs like Farm-to-School and our No Student Goes Hungry initiative are making a difference in not only providing nutritious food choices to our students but also helping to support our farmers. I look forward to seeing this momentum continue in even more districts across the state."

"As part of the fifth round of the Farm-to-School program, we are committed to providing local, healthy foods in schools across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding will bring more locally-sourced products into our schools and provide economic benefits to New York farmers - a partnership that helps ensure their growth and success. This program is making sure our students have access to the best local food in New York, and advances the long-term success of our agriculture industry."

Lieutenant Governor Hochul announced the fifth round of the Farm-to-School program at Waterfront Elementary School in Buffalo and participated in a NY Thursdays local lunch with students. Students enjoyed New York beef hamburgers from Slate Foods of New York, which sources from farms across the Hudson Valley; corn on the cob and kale salad from Eden Valley Growers from Eden, NY; chips from Marquart Farms from Gainesville, NY; milk from Upstate Farms from Buffalo, NY; New York apples; and NY Juice Co. Concord grape juice, made with Concord grapes from farms across Western New York. Buffalo Public Schools has an enrollment of 38,351 students in more than 60 different schools in Erie County and has succeeded in reaching the 30 percent goal of sourcing local foods from New York State.

Applicants eligible for Round 5 of the Farm-to-School Program include Kindergarten through Grade 12 school food authorities, public schools, charter schools, not-for-profit schools, and other entities participating in the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, or the Summer Food Service Program. Not-for-profit entities working with school food authorities and eligible schools are also able to apply. The state is seeking proposals that will increase the capacity of schools to procure and serve New York State farm products in school meal programs.

Grant funding of up to $100,000 per project will be awarded for, but not limited to:

Employing a local or regional farm-to-school coordinator;

Training of food service staff to increase knowledge of local procurement and preparation of locally produced food;

Purchase of equipment needed to increase capacity of school kitchen and food service staff to prepare and serve locally produced food; and

Capital improvements to support the transport and/or storage of locally produced food.

Since the Governor launched New York's Farm-to-School Program in 2015, $4.825 million has been committed to support Farm-to-School projects across the State. Through the first four rounds of funding, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has awarded 43 projects, benefiting 255 school districts in every region across the state.

All applicants to the Farm-to-School Program must register and apply through Grants Gateway. Proposals must be received by Nov. 7 by 4 p.m. For more information, contact: Mark McMullen at Mark.McMullen@agriculture.ny.gov