State Adds $10 Million to Surplus Food Program

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday said an additional $10 million will go into  the Nourish New York program, bringing the total funding to $35 million.

The extra funding will allow emergency food providers to continue to purchase surplus products from New York farmers and dairy manufacturers and deliver it to  families in need through the end of the year.

Nourish New York was first announced in April as a way of helping dairy farmers who were facing the loss of key markets and the significant, increased demand  food banks were seeing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the program started, more than 16 million pounds of dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and more have been purchased and provided to 823,883 households.

“The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, including our agricultural community and the families they feed. The Nourish New York program has successfully bridged the gap between our families, our food banks, and our farmers.” Cuomo said. “Still, there is a very clear need in our communities.”

Funding for this second round of the program is being provided from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It will be reallocated to food banks and emergency food providers through existing contracts extended through Dec. 31.  Emergency food providers can spend the money allocated to them by:

  • Setting up food-drive through events/giveaways (guidance available here); 
  • Distributing dairy vouchers that can be redeemed in grocery stores for products like cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, and butter, throughout the state, and/or;
  • Purchasing products directly from New York dairy/food manufacturers for their feeding programs.

Since its launch, the $25 million Nourish New York initiative has supported 3,438 food distributions, providing New York dairy, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and produce, meat, seafood, eggs and more to 823,883 households. Through the food banks’ purchases, 4,140 farms have been impacted, relieving farmers from having to dispose of surplus milk and providing growers with a place to sell their produce. The $25 million investment is on track to be spent by the end of October.                                                 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York food banks have seen a dramatic increase in demand, in some regions up to 200 percent, as many New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table. At the same time, New York’s farmers and producers have faced their own unprecedented, extreme financial difficulties. Many temporarily lost up to 50 percent of their markets through the closure of schools and restaurants.


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