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Cuomo wants to continue funding programs through the Nourish NY initiative in the states budget

Gov. Andre Cuomo wants to include $25 million in the state budget to continue programs through the Nourish NY initiative.

Another $10 million was allocated to the program in late October to sustain the program through the end of the year.

As of Dec. 1, 2020, Nourish NY has resulted in $26.4 million in purchases for 17 million pounds of food More than one million households have received New York state products through food distributions and more than 4,000 farms have benefited from the initiative.

“During this painful year, far too many New York families are experiencing food instability and hunger at a time when social services and community providers are stretched thin. “ Cuomo said. “New York state has long prioritized ending food insecurity and delivering healthy, fresh food to all New York families, through programs such as the Farm to Food Bank tax credit and the No Student Goes Hungry campaign, and we will continue to support the Nourish NY program to ensure the resiliency of our food system and that all families in New York retain access to healthy, locally grown food.”

At the same time, state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, D-Queens, have joined forces on a measure that would establish a permanent program for distributing surplus agricultural products to food banks, similar to the Nourish New York model.

The legislation directs the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to provide financial and technical support for the development of a permanent initiative to provide surplus New York agricultural products to communities in need. This distribution will be effectuated through a network of food banks and other emergency food providers statewide. The measure envisions an expansion of the current, pandemic-specific program and would also complement related efforts, such as the Farm-to-School program.

“The COVID-19 crisis has reminded us that many families are just a paycheck or two away from food insecurity. Data indicates that since the pandemic, approximately one in ten state residents have become food insecure, with a quarter of those reporting this was a new problem for their households,” Borrello said. “The economic recovery for many of these struggling New Yorkers will extend beyond the pandemic, which is why it is critical that we commit now, to permanently establish and expand through legislation, food relief programs like Nourish New York, which benefit both our farmers and those in need. One of my starkest memories from earlier in the pandemic was footage of despondent farmers dumping milk and leaving crops unharvested in their fields, as desperate New Yorkers waited in lines for hours at food pantries. We need to ensure that doesn’t happen again and this bill is the first step forward.”

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