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Nourish NY program brings 3 million pounds of produce, dairy to food banks

Posted 18 June 2020 at 9:09 am

Press Release, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Photo from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Facebook Page: Kathy Hochul gets a tour of Noblehurst Farms and Creamery in Pavilion on Wednesday.

Nourish New York, Governor Cuomo’s initiative to get food from farmers to families in need during the COVID-19 outbreak, reached a milestone this week as the amount of surplus dairy and produce provided through New York’s food banks reached more than three million pounds.

As of Wednesday, food banks have purchased more than $3.2 million in Nourish NY product from New York’s farmers and processors. This includes 1.36 million pounds of dairy products, including fluid milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream, and more than 1.6 million pounds of produce, such as fruits and vegetables, that have been provided to more than 100,000 New York households.

There have been more than 350 Nourish NY distribution events across the state since the program was launched in May, including food distribution sites in Orleans County.

The Nourish New York initiative aims to quickly reroute New York’s surplus agricultural products to people who need them through the state’s food banks. The state is providing $25 million to food banks and other emergency food providers so they can buy surplus milk, yogurt, cheese, vegetables, fruit and more.

The Nourish New York program also provides support to the state’s food producers who have lost markets as a result of school and restaurant closures. The program is administered by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Health.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul highlighted the Nourish NY program on Wednesday during a stop at Noblehurst Farms and Creamery in Pavilion, Genesee County, saying, “Nourish New York has connected local farmers with food banks to help struggling New Yorkers put food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state-funded initiative has delivered more than three million pounds of food and dairy from across the state to those in need since its launch in May. Nourish New York is helping to support local farms and grow the agriculture industry as we continue to work to make sure New Yorkers have the resources they need as we reopen and build back better for the post-pandemic future.”

New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, “As the Governor has said, Nourish New York is all about connecting our farmers who can’t sell their products right now to consumers who are facing challenges in being able to buy them. The need on both sides is critical and I am pleased that Nourish New York allows us to rise to meet that need.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “New York Farm Bureau commends the Nourish NY program for quickly reaching this milestone just a few weeks after its launch. The effort provides a new distribution channel for the state’s farmers at a time when the pandemic seriously disrupted the food chain. By connecting the dots, Nourish NY is eliminating food waste, compensating farmers, and feeding our fellow New Yorkers with healthy, locally produced food.”

Chris Noble, farm partner in Craigs Creamery said, “When COVID-19 hit, we as dairy farmers temporarily lost many markets for our products, including schools and restaurants. The Governor’s Nourish NY initiative has helped local demand for milk and dairy recover more quickly by providing hunger relief for our local communities, specifically from New York farmers and food producers. We are hopeful that we can continue to build on these new supply chains by creating a local and more resilient food system.”

Kirby’s Farm Market co-owner Chad Kirby said, “I think Nourish NY is a fantastic program for the community and for farmers. It’s been a huge benefit and it has made a massive difference.”

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.

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