Christmas came early for East End schools on Friday, December 2. That’s when Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $500,000 has been awarded to seven Farm-to-School projects across New York State—and over $162,000 of that funding is coming straight to North and South Fork schools.
“These Farm-to-School programs are a win-win that supports New York farmers and helps ensure our children have access to healthy, locally grown produce,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is one more step toward a stronger, healthier New York for all.”
To help move our community towards that goal, Southampton Union Free School District has been awarded $94,863. Funding will support the East End Farm-to-School Project, which benefits nearly 2,000 students across three school districts. It will also be used to fire a Farm-to-School coordinator, train food service staff, provide nutrition-based education to students, and integrate locally sourced produce in school lunch and breakfast programs.
On the North Fork, the Greenport Union Free School District has received $68,820. Funding will support the district’s Nurturing Links’ North Fork Farm-to-Student Program, which benefits 4,000 students across six school districts. Funds will also be used to hire a part-time Farm-to-School coordinator to train food service staff, introduce more locally sourced produce into school menus, and to increase student knowledge of local foods. A portion of the funding will also be used to purchase equipment for school cafeterias.
“The Farm-to-School initiative is about feeding children tastier, fresher, and healthier foods, educating them about the importance of eating right, and connecting New York farmers to new customers,” New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said. “We know that healthier students are better students and a stronger agricultural industry means a more robust economy, and so I thank Governor Cuomo for making this program a priority.”
And we here at Edible thank Governor Cuomo, too. We’ve always been proud champions of edible school gardens, and we’re elated to see these programs receive the attention and funding they so richly deserve.
To read more on our local edible school gardens and Farm-to-School programs, check out these stories from our archives: