Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

October 01, 2007

Celebrate NY Harvest for Ny Kids Week - October 1-7

School and Community Celebrations Scheduled Across NYS

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today encouraged schools across the State to recognize New York Harvest for New York Kids Week (NYH4NYK), which runs October 1-7. This annual celebration encourages nutritious food choices among children, while promoting and supporting New York farmers.

"New York Harvest for New York Kids Week provides a great opportunity to share with our children the importance of our State’s agricultural industry and to highlight the many locally-grown products our farm families produce," the Commissioner said. "I encourage all New Yorkers to take part in this annual celebration to learn more about our State’s agricultural industry and to encourage our children to make healthy food choices, while supporting local farms."

New York Harvest for New York Kids Week is part of the State’s on-going Farm-to-School efforts, which work to promote fresh New York products on school menus. NYH4NYK Week provides the opportunity for cafeterias to offer New York farm products on school menus and for classrooms to teach the importance of local agriculture and good nutrition.

This year ARAMARK, a world leader in professional services, has partnered with the Pride of New York program to assist public schools and universities in purchasing local Pride of New York produce and other perishable products whenever possible. ARAMARK’s K-12 Farm-to-School program will promote fresh and nutritious locally-grown produce through a series of events, activities and menu specials that celebrate New York farmers. Last year, ARAMARK piloted this program in 19 New York school districts, which sourced approximately 12 percent of their fresh produce from local and regional farms.

This week, the following ARAMARK supplied schools, will serve New York products and hold special events highlighting locally grown food during NYH4NYK Week, as well as throughout the rest of the school year.

· Rye Neck Union Free School District will feature apples grown in Dutchess County, daily vegetable specials such as baked acorn squash that was grown in Albany County, conduct an Empire apple giveaway and serve New York apple cider with cinnamon sticks to students. Contact: Stacy Falcone 914-777-4845

· Minisink Valley Central School District will kick-off "Wellness Wednesdays" during NYH4NYK Week, featuring fresh vegetables and fruits grown in New York State. Contact: Janet Adamo 845-355-5217

· New Rochelle School District will serve New York apples from Columbia County to all students, and at the high school, students will enjoy a grilled vegetable special that featuring eggplant yellow squash from Albany County. Contact: Deidre McManus 914-576-4216

· Pleasantville School District will hold a New York apple tasting. Contact: Camille Spadafino 914-741-1413

· Chappaqua School District will hold a New York apple tasting and feature fresh local produce at their fruit and salad bar. They will also hold a corn shucking activity on Wednesday and enjoy the husked corn on Thursday during NYH4NYK Week. Contact: Cathy Ashe 914-238-0017

· Nyack Public Schools will feature fresh local vegetables, hold a taste testing with fresh yellow squash from Albany County and send letters to parents and teachers about the importance of supporting local agriculture and New York farms. Contact: Judy Marsico 845-353-7152

· In addition, Utica College, Vassar College, the University of Rochester and SUNY Morrisville will all use a wide variety of local food products on special menus during NYH4NYK Week.

New York State Farm-to-School Coordinating Committee Co-Chair and a school food service director, Ray Denniston, said, ""It is exciting to see the growth of relationships between our agriculture and school communities. As we look for the best products in the area of nutrition, quality and taste, we are pleased to find these products are only a few short miles from our cafeterias."

Initiated seven years ago by the New York State Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy, the NYHNYK Week is supported by the New York State Farm-to-School Coordinating Committee. The goal of the Committee is to expand the offering of fresh New York products on school menus beyond the one week in the fall. The Committee is comprised of members from New York State School Nutrition Association, NY Farms!, Cornell’s Farm-to-School Program, New York Farm Bureau, the State Education Department, and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The New York State Department of Health will also be a member of this committee in order to fully integrate their nutrition programs and obesity prevention activities.

Sampling of New York Harvest for New York Kids Week 2007 Scheduled Events

· Broome & Tioga Counties – As part of the new "Rock-On Café" project, 16 school districts will be purchasing and promoting the consumption of New York grown fruits and vegetables, including sliced apples, baby carrots and pears. The project is being done in coordination with the "Give Me 5" program of the Broome County Health Department. Contact: Ray Denniston 607-763-1216.

In addition, SUNY Binghamton will have a display/showcase of New York State apples at five locations on their campus.

· Chautauqua County – Forestville Central Schools are celebrating with a roast pork dinner. Community members will help peel and slice locally grown apples for apple crisp, and local apple farmers will deliver apples to the elementary and high schools for lunches that week. Contact: Karen Kozlowski 716-965-2711

· Columbia County – Taconic Hills Central School cafeteria lines will be decorated in a farm and apple theme.  Workers will be dressed as farmers and local apples and pears will be free with any cafeteria purchase. Columbia County Cooperative Extension will also bring a local fruit farmer and a nutritionist to visit with K-6 students during lunch. Contact: Carol Curtis 518-325-0310

· Genesee County – LeRoy Central Schools will be featuring New York foods on the school lunch menu. Contact: Laurie Locke 585-768-5509

· New York City – The Cookshop Program has produced a New York Harvest Activity Kit that includes 11 school-based community activities including: making applesauce in the classroom, writing a letter to a farmer, tasting New York farm market products and visiting a local grocery store to find New York produce. The kits will be distributed to all participating CookShop Classrooms in New York City. Contact: Hadley Friedman 212-894-8094 x 1571

The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food, and Spoons Across America will sponsor the 13th Annual Days of Taste in 23 New York City fourth and fifth grade elementary classes. Days of Taste is a guided exploration of tastes from farm to classroom to table, including trips to farmers' markets and visits with farmers. Contact: Julia Jordan 718-260-5345

The Block Institute will host a Harvest Festival with a live petting zoo, pumpkin decorating contest, agriculture booths, an exhibit from the school's gardens, a New York themed lunch, class-made New York shaped cookies, a visit from an upstate farmer, and other activities. Contact: Todd Adelman 718-946-9700 x 217

· Niagara County – Cooperative Extension will celebrate at the North Tonawanda Farmers’ Market and Niagara Wheatfield Central Schools, offering puzzles and coloring books on New York agriculture, as well as hula hoop and jump roping contests, and fruit and vegetable samplings. Contact: Kathryn Streeter 716-433-8839 x242

Wilson Central Schools will promote New York milk and fresh produce at lunch and will encourage families to visit farmers’ markets. They will also feature homemade New York caramel apples, decorating New York munchkin pumpkins and a nutrition lesson with a taste test of New York products. Contact: Donna Kurial 716-751-9341

· Ontario County – The Canandaigua City Primary and Elementary Schools will visit the Canandaigua Farmers’ Market with produce and other local food items for students, as well as a display of farm equipment, farm animals, food system activities for teachers, along with tastings and nutrition information. October 2. Special events and New York menus will also be occurring at the Bloomfield, Geneva, and Victor School Districts. Contact: Canandaigua-Sharon Bogue 585-396-3739. Bloomfield- Todd Fowler 585-657-6121, Geneva-JoEllen Martino 315-781-4132, Victor-Janet Elman 585-924-3252

· Oswego County – Hannibal Central School District has organized a variety of activities and events for its students. Contact: Debbie Richardson 315-564-7900

· Saratoga County – Lake Avenue Elementary will highlight local produce and agricultural information on their menu, hold a taste test of New York apple varieties, and will be visiting a farmers’ market. At the middle and high schools, there will be a nutrition game show and recipe contests using local produce. Contact: Margaret Lamb 518-693-1456

· Tompkins County – Tompkins County Cooperative Extension hosts a Fall Harvest Festival for Kids at the P&C Supermarket in Ithaca with local food samples, harvest-themed activities like pumpkin painting, seed mosaics and butter making. October 8. Contact: Debbie Teeter 607-272-2292

· Washington County – Hudson Falls Central Schools celebrates with local products on the cafeteria menu, a Harvest Celebration at the Kindergarten Center and New York food stations and information on New York agriculture school-wide. Contact: Jane Pepin 518-747-2121

· Yates County – Penn Yan Central Schools will feature local products on its cafeteria menu and a local farmer will visit during the school’s Open House with samplings of New York products. Contact: Dana Burton 315-536-6781

2007 Press Releases