St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES to receive $79,615 for proposed Farm-to-School program with Cooperative Extension
CANTON —St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES will receive $79,615 in grant funding for its proposed Farm-to-School program, which will operate in partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.
The funds, announced Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will support the purchase of locally grown foods from 25 producers and growers in the region.Maria “Flip” Filippi, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s local food program leader, will assist in the creation and training of a local third party, private sector co-packer who will provide processing and packaging services at the Harvest Kitchen, a commercial value-added kitchen located at the Extension Learning Farm in Canton. The grant also provides for additional capital improvements to the Harvest Kitchen, including a walk-in cooler and dry goods storage space for finished products awaiting delivery, which is a key component of the distribution system. St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES will then transport the final products to 21 partnering school districts. This program will benefit an estimated 18,557 North Country students daily.
Patrick Ames, Executive Director of CCE of St. Lawrence County, said, “The Farm to School Project will have a huge impact on how local farmers access and deliver their product to the participating school districts. It will address many capacity challenges that previously served as barriers to the school market place, including processing, packaging, refrigeration and transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Artie Frego, Director of Food Service at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES said, “This program will be mutually beneficial for farmers, school districts, our local economy, and most importantly, the students we serve each day. Our plan is to utilize available resources to develop a systemic approach to processing crops in a way that each district will be able to procure and emulate.”
This announcement comes on the heels of the Governor’s proposal earlier this week to make changes to the school food policy, including boosting Farm-to-School programs. Under the proposal, school districts who reach a 30% threshold of products produced and processed locally will receive a 25 cent reimbursement rate.
For more information about St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, please visit www.sllboces.org.
To learn more about the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, visit www.stlawrence.cce.cornell.edu.