NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday an additional $25 million has been directed to New York’s food banks and emergency food providers in order to help support the Nourish New York program through July 2021.

Since the program was launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, 21 million pounds of surplus agricultural products have reportedly been purchased from New York farmers and delivered to more than 1.3 million households in need across New York State. Since the launch of Nourish NY, a total of $60 million has reportedly been invested in the program. 

“New York is on the path to recovery from the pandemic, but there is a continued need to assist families and our farmers across the state who are still struggling,” Governor Cuomo said. “Since its launch last spring, the Nourish New York initiative has had incredible success in connecting our agricultural producers with food banks in every corner of the state to bring fresh local foods to families in need. This third round of funding will help ensure that no New Yorker goes hungry and households have access to nutritious foods – while also supporting New York’s agricultural economy.”

Emergency food providers can use Nourish New York funds to:

  • Set up food-drive through events/giveaways;
  • Distribute dairy vouchers that can be redeemed in grocery stores for products like cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, and butter, throughout the state, and/or;
  • Purchase products directly from New York dairy/food manufacturers for their feeding programs.

Unfortunately the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused farmers to experience a number of issues including supply chain shifts causing fresh surplus foods like milk to go to waste. At the same time, the demand for food increased across New York State as the pandemic continued. This provided an opportunity to launch the Nourish New York initiative, providing more than $25 million in funding for the first round and $10 million in the second round of the program to purchase foods in New York State giving farmers an alternative stream of revenue during the pandemic. More than 4,150 farmers have reportedly been impacted through the program.

Throughout the pandemic, resources for many have been stretched due to job loss and other hardship.  Nourish New York, an example of the Health Across All Policies initiative, allows food banks and farmers to fill a vital public health need by ensuring that the nutritious foods that keep us healthy are reaching the tables of families who need it the most,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

The Nourish New York initiative has been led by a special task force created by Governor Cuomo, which includes:

  • Kelly Cummings, Director of State Operations and Infrastructure
  • Richard Ball, Commissioner of Agriculture
  • Rossana Rosado, Secretary of State
  • Karim Camara, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services
  • Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits
  • Mike Hein, Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance