The generosity of New York farmers was on full display today during a major food donation event.
New York Farm Bureau members along with the Food Bank Association of New York State announced Tuesday morning that farmers from across the state donated 10,628,208 million pounds of fresh food and farm products this year through the month of November. That is more than 1.6 million pounds of food compared to this time last year, and it translates to almost nine million meals being provided to New Yorkers in need. And with a month to go in the donation effort and additional reporting anticipated from Food Banks, the large number is expected to climb. In addition, the New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee gave a $150 contribution today to the Food Bank Association of New York State.
Tuesday’s announcement at Food Bank of Central New York is in conjunction with the start of New York Farm Bureau’s 2018 State Annual Meeting in Syracuse. Members and agricultural partners give during a yearlong effort to feed the hungry across the state. Central New York farmers brought local squash, eggs, apples, and milk to add to the donated product for today’s announcement.
The food is collected through the “Harvest for All” donation program, a nationwide annual farm donation partnership linking Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. In New York, NYFB’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and the Food Bank Association of NYS administer the statewide donation partnership. The food is then distributed among the 10 Feeding America food banks throughout the state. This is the first year farmer food donations will qualify for a small tax credit of up to $5,000 to offset a portion of the costs to pick, package and deliver the fresh produce to regional food banks and pantries.
“New York farmers routinely are among the most generous in the country when it comes to donating food. They have made it a priority in both direct action and public policy support to improve access to healthy, fresh food in our state. We are proud to partner with Feeding America and our outstanding regional food banks across the state, including the Food Bank of Central New York. They make the donation process as easy as possible to get local food from the farm fields to people in need in their communities. On behalf of our members, I would like to thank the farmers who donated product this year and the regional food banks for all of their important work,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.
“As chair of the Association I get to see the broad reach that our agricultural partners have and the wonderful bounty that helps to provide wholesome food for families in need across our great state. Food banks rely heavily on fresh produce to maintain nutritional meal standards. The nine member food banks of the Association are blessed to have such dedicated partners who help with food while also giving of their time and talent,” said Kathleen Stress, Executive Director of Food Bank of Central New York and Food Bank Association Board Chair
“The Harvest for All program has 3 components: food, funds and friends. Over the past 15 years, New York farmers have generously contributed over 86 million pounds of food to the food bank system. This translates into over 76 million meals for those in need. In addition to food donations, New York Farm Bureau members have also been generous in donating funds and have volunteered their time. We look forward to continuing this partnership, and we encourage farmers across the state to think of their local food banks as a way to give back or when they have excess product that would otherwise go to waste,” said Kristen Brown, New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee Chair.
“Throughout the years, the Food Bank of Central New York has been a vital partner with Hudson Egg Farms. On behalf of our employees and the Hudson family, we hope to encourage 1,000 families with our donation during the holiday season,” said Christina Hudson, Egg Processing Manager at Hudson Egg Farms, LLC. She is the third generation on her family’s farm that donated 1,000 cartons of eggs as part of today’s food donation event.
For more specific information on local food donation projects, please contact your regional food bank.