In 2018, New York State established the 30% New York State Initiative for Farm to School, a local food purchasing incentive program to encourage schools to buy more food from New York farms. Over the past five years of the program, participation appears to have stagnated; less than 10 percent of New York School Food Authorities (SFAs) have qualified for the initiative since its establishment, and less than a third of the program’s $10 million budget is dispersed each year. This report, developed by American Farmland Trust with National Farm to School Network, digs into the accessibility challenges hindering schools from utilizing the program and offers policy solutions to unlock the Initiative’s potential to feed students healthy, local food and strengthen local farm economies.
The analysis within the report is not representative of all SFAs or Food Service Directors in the state. Thus, terms like “average SFA,” used in this report mean ‘the average among the available dataset’ and are not meant to be generalizable among all SFAs in the state.