On May 25th, legislation making the Nourish New York Program permanent (A.5781A/S.4892A) passed both Houses of the New York State Legislature unanimously. The Nourish New York Program was created during the COVID-19 pandemic, and connects farmers with surplus agricultural products with food banks around the state. Since the program was created, a total of $85 million has been directed to the program.
“Too many New Yorkers struggled to put food on the table before the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in an announcement. “By establishing the Nourish New York Program, we are helping connect those who are most in need with healthy fresh food and produce, and support our hardworking farmers and agricultural businesses.”
“The Nourish New York program has been a silver lining in a very dark time giving farmers the relief they needed as their markets were disrupted and providing locally grown, farm-fresh food to people facing extreme food insecurity,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey, the bill’s Senate sponsor, when the bill passed the Senate in March. “This program epitomizes the best of New York, showing that we’re strongest when we work together to solve problems across our state, regardless of party or geography. New York is an Ag state and strengthening our regional food supply systems benefits all of us.” After the bill passed the Assembly on May 25th, Assembly Sponsor Catalina Cruz said, “The Nourish New York program strengthened our state’s food supply at a time when our friends and neighbors were most in need. But hunger does not end with the pandemic. This program helps combat food insecurity in our communities, while building new markets for our state’s farm products.”
Since the program’s creation, Shenker Russo & Clark has assisted Feeding New York State in advocating for more funding to the program, as well as the passage of A.5781A/S.4892A to make the program permanent. Feeding NYS is a coalition of food banks in New York, whose mission is to “lead a unified effort for a hunger-free New York State.” Feeding NYS works to achieve its mission by managing statewide grants to support the State’s ten food banks, sourcing food, partnering with farmers, anti-hunger organizations, and the food industry to encourage donations and ensure communities across New York have access to good and healthy food, researching and sharing best practices among food banks, and educating the public on issues related to hunger. Upon hearing the Nourish New York bill has passed both Houses, Feeding NYS Executive Director Dan Egan said, “The New York program has proven itself to be efficient and effective in addressing food insecurity and aiding economic development. Feeding NYS thanks Senators Hinchey and Borrello, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, and all members of the New York State Legislature for passing this vital legislation and supporting food insecure individuals and farmers around the State.”