Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752

November 28, 2012

Department of Agriculture & Markets Awarded $65,000 for School Nutrition Pilot Program with Broome-Tioga BOCES and the Binghamton City School District

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service awarded the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets more than $65,000 for a Farm to School pilot program in the Southern Tier. The Department will work with Broome-Tioga BOCES and the Binghamton City School District to implement the program. The Farm to School program will increase the New York-grown and -produced foods consumed in schools, strengthen local agriculture, improve student health and promote awareness of regional food systems.

“More and more, people want to eat fresh food from local sources,” Commissioner Aubertine said.  “Our Farm to School program is all about getting local food in local schools, teaching kids about the importance of supporting local agriculture and showing them the benefits of healthy eating.  We look forward to working with Broome-Tioga BOCES to launch this program in the City of Binghamton.” 

Broome-Tioga BOCES will work with nine other state and local partners to pilot a food safety education training program.  This program will train local farmers to produce certified products that can be served safely in schools.  Many school districts, including the City of Binghamton, require that growers be certified in Good Agricultural Practices, otherwise known as GAP.  GAP-certified training educates farmers about food safety hazards through all phases of production – planting, production, harvesting and postharvest handling.  Once local farmers are trained, staff at Binghamton Schools will be trained in food safety.  This will help promote a safe food supply from the planting phase all the way to consumption. 

Raymond Denniston, Special Project Coordinator of the Broome-Tioga BOCES Food Service Department said, “This is a great opportunity for us to move our ‘Farm to School’ efforts forward, developing a program that will strengthen our local connections in a format that can be replicated throughout New York State.”

Peggy Wozniak, Superintendent of the Binghamton City School District said, “We in Binghamton understand the connection between good nutrition and student achievement.  We are proud to be a part of this program through our BOCES and strongly support healthy food choices for our students while supporting local farmers.”

The Binghamton City School District will also be using the national award-winning “Rock on Café” to get youth more excited about local foods.  For elementary grades, the "Rock on Cafe" will use the "Rex and Roxy" characters for healthy eating tips.  Rex and Roxy are cartoon characters who focus on offering healthier versions of foods that children like while being affordable and convenient.

Once the pilot is completed, the next phase of the program will include expansion to 14 other school districts in the Broome–Tioga BOCES region, potentially serving as a template that could be replicated in districts throughout the State.  For more information on how to implement a Farm to School program in your community, please contact Sarah Johnson of the Department of Agriculture and Markets at (518) 457-1721.

For more information on agriculture in New York State, please visit  Follow the Department of Agriculture and Markets on Twitter @NYAgandMarkets.

2012 Press Releases