We’ve all experienced how has COVID changed the way we live and do business. From how we shop and dine out, to how we socialize with friends and family. Businesses continue to struggle with supplies and staffing, and our farmers are suffering.
Selling produce to restaurants and shopping markets suddenly disappeared, threatening to deal a financial blow to NYS farmers who were left with an excess of produce they could not sell.
To help them and ensure good food didn’t go to waste, NYS created Nourish NY, an initiative for rerouting “New York’s surplus agricultural products to the populations who need them most through the state’s food banks.”
How does it work?
We’re glad you asked!
As I said, Nourish NY provided a market for NY farmers to sell their excess produce. The difference with Nourish NY is that, instead of families buying products at farm stands, or restaurants picking up weekly orders, customers are NYS government and food banks across the state.
Throughout the year, NYS gives state-funded food banks like Long Island Cares “rounds” of money. This is a grant provided to the food banks with one major rule, that all food purchased with the money is from NYS food producers.
According to NYS Governor Kathy Hochul, through the first three rounds of the program “New York’s food banks purchased over 35 million pounds of New York food products, which equates to 29,800,000 meals.”
The program is a win-win for Long Island families and NY producers alike. It provides an invaluable way to keep the all-important NYS farms churning out tasty fruits and veggies.
Locally grown products like produce, meat, eggs, seafood and dairy arrive almost every week, allowing us to stock our member agencies and support the people of Long Island.
It’s really that simple. Farmers grow the crops, the government gives food banks money to buy the products at market costs, then the food is delivered to us to share with our member agencies and clients
When Nourish NY was created, it was with the idea that it was a temporary solution to a temporary problem.
Almost two years later, we are still dealing with COVID, interruptions in the supply chain, and more.
In response, Governor Hochul established Nourish NY as a permanent state program in November 2021. That means families across Long Island and NYS will have access to fruits and veggies far into the future.
COVID changed everything, some things for the worse but some things for the better. Nourish NY is a program that is leaving an incredible impact on the lives of food-insecure people and food producers.
Historically, fresh produce is one of the more difficult items for food banks to acquire. It’s fresh, so it only lasts a few days, meaning it must be moved quickly.
Now that Nourish NY provides a regular shipment of produce that Long Island Cares and other food banks can rely on, we can plan on when and how to get it to the public.
Long Island Cares can place an order from a local farm using allocated funds, and soon a truck will arrive filled with fruits and veggies at our warehouse.
In 2021, Long Island Cares purchased over 228,000 pounds of fresh local products through Nourish NY! How incredible is that!
So, the next time you visit a farm, shop local, or pick that locally grown apple at the grocery store, know that your support of NYS farmers is making a difference and helping everyone in your community!