Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

May 31, 2018

State Agriculture Commissioner Joins Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and Oneida County CCE for “New York Food Day”

18 Local Schools Celebrate the Mohawk Valley Farm-to-School Initiative and Governor Cuomo’s No Student Goes Hungry Program

Spotlights Local Farmers and Food and Beverage Producers

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today joined the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison (OHM) BOCES and Oneida County Cornell Cooperative Extension at Memorial Park Elementary School in Waterville for their “New York Food Day,” a celebration of the Mohawk Valley Farm-to-School initiative across 18 school districts in the region.  Students were served a 100% New York lunch, which featured foods and beverages grown or produced in the State.

Commissioner Ball said, “It is awesome to see our local schools and partners working so hard to serve our school children healthy, fresh foods.  It’s good for our students, who are also learning about where their food comes from along the way, and it’s good for our farmers.  I congratulate OHM BOCES and Oneida CCE for growing their Farm-to-School program that offers thousands of students access to local, nutritious meals.”

Kate Dorr, OHM BOCES assistant school lunch director and registered dietitian nutritionist, said, “New York Food Day showcases amazing foods that are grown and produced right here in the Mohawk Valley. School lunch is a forum to introduce students to healthy eating habits and an opportunity to strengthen the local agricultural economy.” 

Martin Broccoli, Agricultural Economic Development Specialist, CCE said, “As a result of the farm to school initiative and local foods day we were able to pilot the purchase and processing of an all-beef all-local hotdog. We were able to do it at a price point that fit within the budget guidelines and captured economic impact that normally leaves our community. This is a big win for school lunch.”

The Mohawk Valley Farm-to-School Initiative is new in name but long in history. The 14 districts in the OHM BOCES have been working local procurement with CCE for almost 10 years. State and community support for Farm-to-School has helped accelerate and expand this initiative, allowing OHM BOCES and CCE to develop partnerships with more schools and businesses.  New York Food Day was the third in a series of big Farm-to-School events over the last 2 years.  As part of this end-of-the-year event, student lunches featured all beef, all local (Oneida and Madison counties) hot dogs, Utica-grown microgreens, Allegany County cheddar cheese, local apples, and New York state milk and yogurt. 

No Student Goes Hungry Initiative

New York Food Day capped off the district’s successful Farm-to-School program this year, and also provided an opportunity to celebrate the recent adoption of the “No Student Goes Hungry” legislation.  First introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2018 State of the State Address, the comprehensive program provides students of all ages, backgrounds, and financial situations access to healthy, locally-sourced meals from kindergarten through college. The No Student Goes Hungry Program includes investments to expand the Farm-to-School program, legislation to expand access to free breakfast and put an end to lunch shaming, and policy changes to ensure students in kindergarten through college receive access to farm-fresh foods in a quality learning environment.

Farms and businesses that contributed to the New York Food Day lunch included, Radicle Farm, van Lieshout Dairy, Curtin Dairy, Cuba Cheese Shoppe, Purdy and Sons Foods, New York Custom Processing, Chobani, Smith Packing, Carlo Masi Sons and Daughter, Byrne Dairy, New York Bakery, and Bimbo Bakery.

The region’s Farm-to-School program is supported by Oneida County CCE, which was awarded funding from New York State’s Farm-to-School program in 2016 to hire a Farm-to-School specialist to work with growers in Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties to supply schools with local food. A second Farm-to-School grant was awarded by the Department in 2017. Funding will be used to conduct a two-day Farm-to-School culinary training for up to 150 existing food service employees in 7 counties.

About New York State’s Farm-to-School Program

New York Food Day is the latest multi-county effort by school districts and educational organizations, such as BOCES and CCE to increase the use of locally-sourced foods in school lunches.  It builds on New York State’s efforts to bring more fresh, local products to students and connect farmers to new markets through the Farm-to-School Program.

Since the Governor launched New York's Farm-to-School Program in 2015, $1.85 million has been invested in the program to support a total of 25 projects that benefit 206 school districts across the State.  The Department also assisted in New York City’s NY Thursdays program that brings locally grown or produced foods directly to students in New York City Department of Education schools, providing them with healthy meals. In September 2017, the Governor announced that five school districts in Broome and Tioga counties launched a NY Thursdays program of their own in Upstate New York. 

The Department of Agriculture also hosted its first-ever Farm-to-School Summit in October 2017 to connect more than 100 school educators, procurement and nutrition program managers, and state and federal agency representatives from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, NYS Department of Education, NYS Office of General Services, and United States Department of Agriculture.

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2018 Press Releases