From the New York State Agriculture Commissioner:
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that the Food Bank of the Southern Tier reached several milestones in the Nourish New York program. The Food Bank has purchased nearly $1.3 million worth of products as of the end of December, including over 650,000 pounds of dairy products, from New York State farmers and producers. In 2020, the Food Bank experienced a 26% increase in household food requests over 2019, and the Nourish New York initiative was a critical component in meeting that increased need.
Commissioner Ball said: “The Nourish New York initiative has been a lifeline for our farmers and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the hard work of food banks like the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, New York’s farmers have received critical economic support, and families have been able to put food on the table during an extremely difficult time. I congratulate the Food Bank of the Southern Tier on meeting the increased challenges that 2020 brought and look forward to building on our partnership.”
Through the Nourish New York program, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier has purchased $1,295,079 worth of New York State products, including more than 650,000 pounds of dairy products, 100,000 pounds of eggs, 99,000 pounds of produce, 8,500 pounds of juice, and 8,000 pounds of meat. New York State businesses supported through the Food Bank’s purchases include:
- Broccoli Associates
- Cascun Farms
- Direct Refreshments
- HP Hood
- Hudson River Fruit
- O-AT-KA Milk Products
- Upstate Niagara
- Williams Farms
- Yancy’s Fancy
Natasha R. Thompson, President & CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, said: “Nourish New York has greatly benefitted our region over the last eight months. Not only have we been able to provide fresh produce, dairy, and meats to households experiencing food insecurity, but we are also supporting New York State farmers during a time when there is so much economic uncertainty. With the help of Nourish New York, we’ve been able to meet the 26 percent increase in need caused by the pandemic.”
Larry Webster, Chief Executive Officer of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. said, “Our cooperative’s farmer-owners are grateful for all efforts made on their behalf to move excess milk from local farms to families in need. Recognizing their commitment to nourish their communities and enabling them to do so go a long way toward ensuring that we all work together for the greater good.”
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier serves Broome, Tioga, Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler Counties. Visit http://www.foodbankst.org/find-food to find future food distribution events and to learn more.
Governor Cuomo’s Nourish NY program provided $35 million to the state’s emergency food providers to help them buy surplus products from the state’s farmers and producers, who lost markets for their products due to the pandemic. Those agricultural products are then provided to New York families in need at drive-through food distributions, and through food box and school meal programs. To date, Nourish NY has provided funding to New York’s food banks to purchase more than 19.1 million pounds of surplus products.
The Nourish NY program is administered by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Health. Round 2 of Nourish NY ended on December 31, 2020. The initiative has been led by a special task force created by Governor Cuomo, which includes:
- Kelly Cummings, Director of State Operations and Infrastructure
- Richard Ball, Commissioner of Agriculture
- Rossana Rosado, Secretary of State
- Karim Camara, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services
- Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits
- Mike Hein, Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
- The State is asking any philanthropies that would like to help the State’s food banks to contact Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits at COVIDPhilanthropies@exec.ny.gov.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York food banks have seen a dramatic increase in demand, in some regions up to 200 percent, as many New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table. At the same time, New York’s farmers and producers have been faced with their own unprecedented extreme financial difficulties. Many have lost up to 50 percent of their markets through the closure of schools and restaurants, leaving them without a place to sell their perishable products.