21 Million Pounds of Surplus Agricultural Products Have Been Delivered to More Than 1.3 Million Households Across New York State Since Nourish NY Was Launched
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an additional $25 million has been directed to New York's network of food banks and emergency food providers to support the Nourish New York program through July 2021. Since the Governor launched Nourish NY at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, 21 million pounds of surplus agricultural products have been purchased from New York farmers and delivered to more than 1.3 million households in need across New York State. Purchasing and food distribution using this third round of funding - which was first announced during the Governor's 2021 State of the State Address - are currently underway. Since the launch of Nourish NY, a total of $60 million has been invested in the program.
"New York is on the path to recovery from the pandemic, but there is a continued need to assist families and our farmers across the state who are still struggling," Governor Cuomo said. "Since its launch last spring, the Nourish New York initiative has had incredible success in connecting our agricultural producers with food banks in every corner of the state to bring fresh local foods to families in need. This third round of funding will help ensure that no New Yorker goes hungry and households have access to nutritious foods - while also supporting New York's agricultural economy."
The Nourish New York program provides funds to New York's food banks and emergency food providers, who then purchase agricultural products from New York farmers and dairy manufacturers and deliver the food to families in need. Emergency food providers can use Nourish New York funds to:
- Set up food-drive through events/giveaways;
- Distribute dairy vouchers that can be redeemed in grocery stores for products like cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, and butter, throughout the state, and/or;
- Purchase products directly from New York dairy/food manufacturers for their feeding programs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers experienced a drastic supply chain shift, which resulted in the loss of markets and income and in the waste of fresh surplus foods, particularly fluid milk. Simultaneously, the demand for food through emergency food providers escalated across the state. Seeing the opportunity to feed residents and aid farmers, the Governor launched the Nourish New York initiative. This initiative provided $25 million in funding for the first round and $10 million in the second round of the program for the purchase of foods grown, raised, or processed in New York State and has served as an important alternative revenue stream for farmers and dairy processors during the pandemic. More than 4,150 farms have been impacted through the program.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Over the last 10 months, the Nourish New York program has helped feed more than one million families with nutritious dairy, fruits and vegetables, and so much more, and helped make sure our farmers had a market for their products. We are proud of the connections that have been made and thank the Governor for the continued commitment to purchase goods from New York State farmers and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to healthy foods."
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Throughout the pandemic, resources for many have been stretched due to job loss and other hardship. Nourish New York, an example of the Health Across All Policies initiative, allows food banks and farmers to fill a vital public health need by ensuring that the nutritious foods that keep us healthy are reaching the tables of families who need it the most."
Feeding New York State Executive Director Dan Egan said, "Nourish New York has enabled our food banks to provide top-quality New York-origin food to our neighbors in need. It has strengthened the relationships between food banks and farmers. We applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing that this program needs to continue."
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "This additional funding for Nourish NY is good news for many farmers and low-income people who are still dealing with fallout from the pandemic. The program has coordinated a pathway to move food from farms to food banks in every region of the state, compensating farmers for their products and reducing food waste at the same time. It has proven to be a lifeline for people in need, and we thank Governor Cuomo for continuing the program."
The Nourish New York 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