Senator Rachel May hosts roundtable on Farm to Institution infrastructure

Senator Rachel May

Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida), with the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, held a roundtable at SUNY Morrisville with leaders and stakeholders in New York’s agricultural industry.

The goal of the roundtable was to discuss a broader, more robust Farm to Institution program across New York state. Farm to Institution New York State empowers publicly funded institutions to purchase 25 percent of their food from New York state farms.
May and the LCRR are working with partners to increase the number of institutions participating, increase the percent of food from NYS farms, streamline the procurement and distribution systems and create production and storage facilities so more farms can take advantage of the program.

The roundtable is the first of many conversations aimed at creating a reliable market for New York state farms, particularly small- and mid-sized family farms. By creating centrally managed processing, storage and distribution centers, more farms will be able to participate in the improved Farm to Institution program. Schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and nursing homes that receive public funding would all be encouraged to participate in the program to provide high-quality, local produce for their students, residents and staff.

“Farms are vital to New York state’s economy, especially Upstate,” said May. “I am committed to ensuring we are doing all we can to provide reliable outlets and markets for our locally grown produce, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with a robust Farm to Institution program. By working to build strong infrastructure, more farmers can participate and more institutions can be served year-round. I am thrilled so many partners joined our conversation today and I look forward to continuing to build on our successes.”

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