Saratoga Springs, N.Y., February 18, 2014 --American Farmland Trust (AFT) today announced it has received a $200,000 grant from the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation to expand new, local markets for farmers through the Farm To Institution New York State Partnership (FINYS).
The FINYS initiative expands markets for locally-grown agricultural products by working with colleges and universities, schools and other institutions to increase the amount of locally grown food these institutions purchase directly from New York farmers and through distributors.
In addition to providing increased economic opportunity for New York farmers, improved access to fresh, healthy locally-grown fruits, vegetables and other foods can also help address the urgent diet-related problems of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease affecting millions of New Yorkers.
"The Local Economies Project is proud to continue its support of American Farmland Trust's FINYS," said Bob Dandrew of the Local Economies Project. "Getting local food into institutional settings is critical to our health and to the viability of our local farming economy. FINYS is doing an outstanding job of bringing farmers and processors, institutional buyers, and the people they service together to create strong market channels we need for a more resilient food system in New York State."
"This work is about creating jobs and improving the health of people fed by institutions – including kids and college students, seniors and New Yorkers in need," said David Haight, New York State Director of AFT. "The Local Economies Project's continued support is going to help FINYS scale up the volume of local food that is served in specific institutional sectors, while supporting efforts by farmers, food professionals and citizens across New York that are eager to see more local food served in schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions."
The two-year grant will help advance the Farm To College initiative launched last year with the State University of New York campuses in Albany, New Paltz, Oneonta, Oswego and other universities in the SUNY network as well as a companion project to expand local food purchasing by senior centers, emergency food providers and other nutrition programs.
The grant will also help support the development of a communications network between food growers and institutions and market-readiness training to help farmers adapt their businesses to meet the requirements of institutional buyers.
The FINYS partnership is led by AFT, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Empire State Development, Foodlink, GrowNYC, Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation, Local Economies Project, New York Academy of Medicine, New York Farm Bureau, New York State School Nutrition Association, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company.
FINYS was launched in 2013 with financial support from the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation and the New World Foundation Local Economies Project. For more information on FINYS, visit: www.finys.org.
The Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation is based in the Hudson Valley with a mission to support sustainable local agriculture and ongoing efforts to create a resilient food system. For more information, visit: www.localeconomies-hv.org.
The American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.
For information on American Farmland Trust's work in New York visit: www.farmland.org/newyork, Facebook: www.facebook.com/americanfarmlandtrustny or Twitter: @FarmlandNY.
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