SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Farm to Institution New York State, or FINYS, a collaborative initiative led by American Farmland Trust, announces a request for applications for the inaugural New York State Farm to School Institute, an intensive year-long program for New York schools to develop and grow their farm to school programs.
The 2019-2020 New York State Farm to School Institute will provide training and support for up to six schools, tailored to New York’s unique landscape and customized to help participating schools achieve their farm to school goals.
Selected schools will convene for a three-day in-depth training from Aug. 12-14, meet for a one-day gathering in fall 2019, receive coaching to support them during the year and be eligible for a Farm to School Implementation Award of up to $5,000. Participating school teams, comprised of school administrators, food service staff, educators and community partners, will receive support to enhance their technical knowledge on how to procure and prepare local foods, access to tools for community engagement, and strategies to support classroom and culinary education.
“New York is home to approximately 36,000 farms. At the same time, publicly funded K-12 schools in New York spend nearly $240 million on food annually,” said Stephanie Hsu, FINYS manager at American Farmland Trust. “American Farmland Trust and our partners in FINYS are thrilled to be launching a new statewide learning opportunity for K-12 schools that want to bridge that gap and jumpstart and grow a Farm to School program in their schools and communities.”
Publicly funded K-12 schools serve nearly 1.7 million students every day with more than half receiving free and reduced-price school lunch. K-12 schools can play a critical role in both improving access to and consumption of healthy, local foods for schoolchildren while expanding market opportunities for farmers. Farm to School is also an opportunity to improve the health and vitality of New York’s rural communities.
"The New York State Farm to School Institute, modeled on the successful program run by Vermont FEED, is an innovative way to support school teams in developing their Farm to School visions and carrying out their plans,” said Jamie Levato, education director at Poughkeepsie Farm Project. “I am thrilled to be part of this important work that will benefit both New York state schoolchildren and farmers."
The New York State Farm to School Institute is a project of Farm to Institution New York State, a collaborative initiative working to dramatically expand the volume of food grown on local farms that is served in institutions across New York. K-12 schools are encouraged to apply for the 2019-2020 New York State Farm to School Institute online at.
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families.