Linking Farmers to Institutional Markets in New York

Providing opportunities for local farmers and healthy food in an institutional setting

Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) provides new market opportunities for local farmers, while bringing healthy, high-quality food to people eating in schools, colleges, hospitals, senior centers, residential institutions and group homes.

Founded in 2013 by American Farmland Trust, FINYS is a partnership of agriculture, health and economic development organizations working to increase the purchase of New York-grown foods by institutions.

FINYS helps overcome the challenges faced by institutions – such as securing an adequate supply of local food suitable for an institutional setting. It also addresses challenges faced by farmers and food businesses in overcoming the barriers and requirements of institutional food markets.

One way to save farmland is to create more economic opportunities for our farmers. When farmers make a profit they are not under pressure to sell their land to real estate developers. Our state institutions annually feed millions of New Yorkers. That's a lot of food.

ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS

Farm to SUNY: a partnership between FINYS and the State University of New York (SUNY) to expand purchasing of vegetables and fruits at four campuses: Albany, New Paltz, Oneonta, and Oswego. Given the scale of the SUNY system—serving meals to more than 460,000 students and 90,000 faculty and staff with a food purchasing budget of $250 million annually— increased demand for local foods can support growth in local packing, processing, food hubs and distribution businesses.

Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training Program: Educating professionals to help farmers assess opportunities for sales to institutions, build relationships with buyers, and identify potential changes in farm production and management systems.

Regional Networks and Partnerships: In 2014, FINYS' Hudson Valley Farm to Institution Summit at SUNY New Paltz convened 140 leaders working to bring regionally produced food to schools, colleges, hospitals, food pantries and other institutions.

Statewide Communication & Coordination: A catalyst for legislative action, FINYS advocated for the Food Metrics Bill, passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2013. The new law requires state agencies to establish a robust food purchasing, tracking and reporting system that will provide data about money being spent on food and its sources. It lays the groundwork for state institutions to buy more food grown on New York farms.

FUNDING PARTNERS

The FINYS partnership has been launched with funding from the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation and New World Foundation Local Economies Project.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Glenda Neff, (315) 255-6958, gneff@farmland.org

Chris Grace, (718) 207-4967, christinamgrace@gmail.com

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