DRAFT – 10-1-2008
New York State Council On Food Policy
Work Group 1: Maximize participation in food and nutrition assistance programs
Linda Bopp (Nutrition Consortium), John Evers (Food Bank Assoc), Florence Reed (OFA rep), Jack Kennedy (OTDA rep), Willie Rapfogel (Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty), Jonathan Thomson (DAM rep); Ann McMahon (coordinator)
More New York state residents are eligible for food and nutrition assistance programs than actually enroll in these services. Without this assistance, individuals may suffer from hunger and / or malnutrition. Hunger’s many adverse effects include a higher prevalence of chronic illness, frequent complications, and increased demands and costs for health care services. Further, hungry children experience significant and long-lasting cognitive, physical, and social delays (food bank association of new york state).
The goal of maximizing participation in food and nutrition assistance programs serves at least three vital functions:
1. Ensure that all residents have adequate access to nutritious foods regardless of income, culture, age, geographic region or other characteristics, and thus reduce hunger.
2. Confirm the roll of hunger prevention programs (such as soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters etc) to be a safety net that provides supplemental food security needs to residents in urgent situations.
3. Make full use of all funds obtainable from federal assistance programs.
One objective for the year 2009 would be to inventory and create a map / directory of the multitude of food and nutrition services available. The purpose would be to indentify where program overlap exists, where funding would be best allocated and where the gaps in services exist. This “map” would be a key
education tool for both the advocates that provide the assistance and the individuals attempting to maneuver the food and nutrition assistance programs. Some non-food and nutrition programs may correlate as they contribute to the overall financial security of individuals (such as Home Energy Assistance Program HEAP and Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage EPIC).
* Status reports are meant solely to aid in the NYS Council on Food Policy member’s deliberation and assessment. This document does not
represent NYS CFP final recommendations. This is strictly meant to be a working document.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
For Appendix in December report if available/feasible:
Current federal funding for food and nutrition assistance programs accessed by the state of New York is $_______ .
List by program (example only-- data may vary)
Program: Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
Responsible Agency/Organization: DOH, DAM, OFA, Farmers’ Mkt Federation
Federal Funding: Projected $5.2 million for FFY 2009-10
State Funding: $1 million
Population Served: 250k WIC / 115k seniors
Benchmark of increased participation level --- ?
1. Increase education about assistance programs and benefits using traditional outreach strategies
such as media / public service announcements and non-traditional outreach strategies such as in job
placement offices, places of worship, schools, drug stores, and farmer’s markets
a) Identify programs that already have existing federal and state funding for education and outreach
that can be tapped into (quantify existing funding amounts)
b) Prepare a map / directory of existing state, federal and non-profit food and nutrition assistance
programs for future public dissemination. This clearing house will be adapted for both consumers
and advocates. ex: Mapping the World of Nutrition www.ansanutrition.org
Program examples include, but are not limited to: NOEP (Nutrition Outreach Education Program); “211”
United Way phone information and referral system; NYS CFP 12/1/07 report Appendix C: “State Agency
Food, Access, and Nutrition Programs” (Advocacy Outreach); Food banks/soup kitchens; CCE - Food &
Nutrition Education in Communities (FNEC); NYConnects; Older Americans Act (nutrition education,
counseling, and information and assistance)
c) Develop operating procedures to ensure that staff in community based organizations, at emergency
feeding sites, at farmers’ markets, at schools and other food and nutrition assistance programs are
well-trained and knowledge of the variety of services (using the proposed map / directory) and that
they have necessary resources (such as forms, signs and guides in multiple language) available
d) Identify institutional resources (public and private) that would assist with the implementation of
items 1a) - 1c).
2. Encourage increased collaboration and consistency among State agencies and not-for-profits
administering the programs by co-enrolling participants for benefits and/or making enrollment more
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
a) Explore every opportunity to eliminate finger-imaging for food stamps application. OTDA:
This has already been eliminated for working families.
b) Explore every opportunity to allow phone interviews for food stamps application. OTDA:
Currently this is liberally done for working families, hardship cases (such as health or transportation
issues), and re-certification. However it is administered on a county by county basis, thus
interpretation often differs.
c) Explore every opportunity to simplify / streamline application forms: OTDA “My Benefits”
program should be capable of sharing information, increase data exchange, across agencies within
~ 5 years. Outline this plan.
d) Create “check list” for financial assistance packages such as the national model for seniors,
“Benefits Checkup” http://www.benefitscheckup.org/ or the Advocacy, Counseling, and Entitlement
Services (ACES) Manual sponsored by Community Service Society of NY
http://pbrcmanual.cssny.org/index.html that can be adapted for all populations. Recognizing
increased risk of hunger and diet related diseases due to lack of adequate access to affordable,
nutritious foods, target populations include: children, seniors, and low income families and
3. Explore options for ensuring that food assistance and emergency feeding programs have adequate quality (nutritional value) and stable quantities of resources needed to meet demands a) Collate the data that clearly documents unmet food security needs of NY residents b) Recognizing that food assistance and emergency feeding programs assist the state by
meeting the food security needs of many residents, it is strongly encourage that a “stable”
(consistent and guaranteed) state funding source for food assistance and emergency feeding
programs is in place for planning purpose.
c) Explore options for increasing funding indexed to inflation, for all government funded
emergency food programs. For example, the state is making some funding available as COLA (cost
of living adjustment) for some aging services such as the SNAP program…. Quantify this
d) Explore options for providing funding and other support to food banks for the purchase of
more local produce for distribution to residents.
4. Increase number of markets and outlets that are capable of receiving food stamps and other food assistance currency. These efforts boost the local economy by increasing farm income while supplying access to nutritious foods to at-risk, underserved populations. As was recently noted, “Food
stamp sales at NY farmers’ markets have increased statewide from $3,000 in 2002 to $90,000 in 2007” (Diane Eggert, Executive Director of Farmers’ Market Federation).
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
a) Support food assistance programs and efforts that provide incentives for clients to purchase
healthy, local foods such as Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC) and Senior’s FMNP.
Examples of projects or proposals to review, support and/or replicate include:
; CNY “Fresh Checks” coupon incentive program that provides food stamp customers
with a $5.00 NY Fresh Check coupon each market day they spend a minimum of $5.00 of
their EBT benefits at the market. Currently funded (1 yr) through the Humpty Dumpty
; Provide vendor training for and permit farmers’ market vendors to accept the “Cash
Value Vouchers” (new funding in the WIC package designated solely for the purchase of
fruits and vegetables) at their stands.
; Promote universal portable Electric Benefit Transfer (EBT) technology at farmers’
markets, grocery stores, farm stands and green carts. This increases access and reduces
the stigma associated with using assistance benefits.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
Work Group 2: Strengthen the connection between local food products and consumers. Consider culture, age and geographic region of all consumers to best serve their needs.
Diane Eggert (Farmers’ Market Federation); Ray Denniston (Johnson City Schools); Fran O’Donnell (State Education
rep); Mindy Bockstein (Consumer Protection Board); Liz Neumark (Great Performances); John Evers (Food Bank Association); Jerry Cosgrove (DAM rep); Jim Barber (DAM rep), Ann McMahon (coordinator)
Compilation and dissemination of information by creating a centralized electronic clearinghouse is one of the first steps identified to develop a sustainable system that will strengthen the producer and consumer connection. Components of the proposed clearinghouse include, but are not limited to: current distribution models, storage and processing facilities, market locations, population studies and grower and processor profiles. The goals of this include, but are not limited to: 1) recognizing where opportunities and collaboration potential are present that will increase consumer access to local foods and 2) providing a user-friendly network that can be accessed by both consumers and by produces in a match making type service.
The target “consumers” of year 2009 are A) institutions and B) community markets; specifically, but not exclusively, those serving children, seniors, and low-income or other food insecure populations.
Recommendations for improving, expanding, altering infrastructure will be addressed after clearly identifying the existing “food system” framework that is in place; identifying food desserts, and establishing the capacity of New York producers and markets.
The recommendations of Work Group 2 are complementary to and advance the objectives of Work Group 3 (Supporting efficient and profitable agriculture food production and food retail infrastructure).
A. Institution purchasing
Create systems for local farmers to produce for state institutions and other food service programs (for example: schools, universities, nursing homes, prisons, day care centers, emergency feeding programs and government facilities).
1. Develop an electronic database that will serve as a “clearinghouse” or directory of producers,
processors, associations, and consumers such as the web-based “Farm-Fresh Guide” that lists nearly
2000 farms offering food, products, and services directly to the public
a) Database tools needed: sorting mechanism (by buyer/producer size and by regional level);
feature for individuals to update information.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
b) Use regional Cornell University Cooperative Extension educators as resources to facilitate
the communication process between producer and consumer whenever possible
2. Explore and analyze existing storage, distribution, associations and “Market Maker” type models for
a) Consider bulk food drop-off / distribution centers such as Food Bank trucks pick up / deliver farm
products (example: Foodlink, Rochester)
b) Consider association models such as: Northeast Organic Farming Association, Apple Growers
Association; Vegetable Growers Association
Review, analyze, comment upon legislation (proposed and existing) that relates to increasing local food products to state institution such as, but not limited to: US Senate S.3588: Healthy Food for Healthy
Lives Act of 2008 introduced by Senator Clinton ； a.k.a. “Farm to Hospital”
School purchasing and child nutrition
3. Support initiatives in schools for healthy, local food choices: look to change consumption behavior of
youth as well as introduce youth to food system dynamics
4. Show support for and take a leadership position to implement the Federal law in The
Farm Bill 2008 that encourages local purchasing and allows school food service directors to specify
geographic region for their fruits and vegetable purchases.
Farm Bill 2008 Title IV: Nutrition Locally Produced Food - Directs Secretary to encourage
institutions, such as schools, that receive funds from child nutrition programs to purchase
unprocessed agricultural products, both locally grown and locally raised, to maximum extent
practicable and appropriate. Allows use of geographic preference in procurement in all programs
funded under NSLA, Child Nutrition Act, and DoD Fresh Program.
5. Ensure that children are receiving nutritious meals in schools
a) Encourage school food purchases to prioritize nutritional quality of food over quantity of food
b) Encourage the adoption of scientifically based National Standards for schools meals. This is
the top issue for the National School Nutrition Association. This would bring consistency throughout
the country and consistency for food producers making more wholesome products available, at
lower cost based on volume.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
c) Increase state funding for school free and reduced meal programs each by $0.15 within the
next 3 years (State fiscal year April 2012). Quantify financial implication: existing funding per
meal + .15 x estimated meals served
d) Re-analyze the proposed “Healthy Schools Act”. Encourage modification that will enable
schools to purchase more local, fresh products verses imposing unfunded mandates on schools.
School nutrition programs are facing increased operating cost and food cost creating a very
challenging financially position. Unfunded mandates raise concern that schools may have to choose
to decrease the quality of and quantity of programs.
Compare side by side the “Healthy Schools Act” (A.8698 ) to the “Local Farms-Healthy Kids Act” (SB
6483; enacted June 2008) from the state of Washington. Among other things, the “Local Farms-Healthy
Kids Act” eliminates the lowest cost bid requirements for schools purchasing local food and allows price preferences for local purchases.
e) Increase opportunities (producer incentives) for nutritious NY added value (“grab and go”
prepackaged) foods to be available such as carrot coins, grapes, broccoli cuts, pears and apple
slices in schools.
6. Assemble, disseminate and encourage adoption/utilization of documents that will support purchasing of fresh, local products at schools such as:
a) “Safe Handling Procedures” to food service directors for fresh produce
b) “Produce Specification Guide” with sizing standards to food service directors for ordering
c) “Directory” of producers and distributors regionally for food service directors
d) “Good Agricultural Practices” (GAP) and “Good Handling Practices” (GHP) for producers
7. Continue to pursue and expand participation in USDA federally funded programs such as the “Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program” (FF&VP).
- Current FF&VP funding is going to approximately 50 elementary and secondary schools in NYS. Schools receive federal funds to purchase domestically grown fresh fruits and vegetables to be served separately from meal programs. Participating schools are encouraged to expand their nutrition education programs. This program will provide an additional serving of fresh fruit or fresh vegetables to over 26,700 children in NYS. Quantify financial implication: federal dollars brought into NYS through program and federal dollars used to purchase local, fresh foods
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
8. Support the establishment of a children’s health database that components would include,
but are not limited to: ___
Example: Cornell University’s project proposal: “Impact of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
on Children’s Preferences and Food Service in New York State Public Schools” (pre/post study
currently seeking funding from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation by Jennifer Wilkins).
9. Compile, review and promote existing programs that introduce youth to food system dynamics.
Examples: school gardens; Ag in the Classroom; FF&VP; Farm to School; and Kindergarten Initiative
(Food Trust). Considering that classroom time is limited; most successful programs should be
incorporated into existing approved curriculum and/or carried out into community activities.
B. Community Purchasing
1. Collect the models of community food security initiatives and networks; perform an evaluation of
the results; find means for promoting regional and/or statewide replication of successful models 2. Compile and categorize initiatives; create state and regional directory thereof for public
3. Recommend support for infrastructure development and/or increase funding of programs such
as community gardens, urban gardening, community supported agriculture (CSA) that keep local
dollars in the economy and address the issue of food desserts by providing a means for purchasing
fresh fruit and vegetable
- In July 2008, Dept of Agriculture & Markets announced the Community Gardens
Capacity-Building Grants Program. Grants of approximately $5,000 each will fund efforts to
develop gardening programs in urban low-income communities.
4. Encourage more permanent farmers’ markets in more neighborhoods; adjust times and days to
accommodate work schedules; assist with solving transportation issues to markets
a) Transportation to farmers’ markets for underserved populations is typically organized
through individual entities such as Housing Authority or Senior Center administration. Increasing
coordination between transportation authorities, market managers and/or underserved populations
is encouraged. Access to farmers’ markets may be increased by manner of adding a bus stop on an
existing line near a market; and/or encouraging new markets to locate near existing bus stops.
b) Farmers’ Market Federation provides training in relation to appropriate market days and
times. Continued incorporation of community feedback is encouraged.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
New York State Council On Food Policy
Work Group 3: Support efficient and profitable agricultural food production and food retail infrastructure
Julie Suarez (Farm Bureau); Bruce Both (United Food and Commercial Workers Union); Ellie Wilson (Price Chopper Dietitian); Mike Hoffmann (Cornell Agriculture and Life Science rep); Senator Catharine Young; Empire State Development, Jerry Cosgrove (DAM rep), Jim Barber (DAM rep); Ann McMahon (coordinator)
Attention is devoted to identifying the needs and capacity of NY producers. Assessing grant funding options and accessing those funds for infrastructure is encouraged. Recommendations that acknowledge New York producers’ size, crop diversity and regional capacity are to be considered.
1. Expand “buy local” partnerships within the food industry to meet demand for local preference
such as “Pride of New York” program and other regional efforts.
a) Expand producer affiliation with Pride of NY program through expanding membership; track
expanded participation through measurement of farmer participants
b) Create a synergy between Pride of NY and the buy local movement through Department of
Agriculture and Markets marketing plans, private industry initiatives, and greater ties to the I Love
2. Address ways to improve production, distribution and marketing of, and increase demand for, NYS food
a) Provide farmer and producer educational opportunities, technical assistance and financial
assistance to enable them to perform “best practices” as they pertain to food safety measures
b) Work with identified federal funding sources to encourage the adoption of Good Agricultural
Practices (GAP) certification among the farm community (Eurogap, etc.)
c) Step 1: Clearly identify industry needs. Perform inventory and analysis of facilities that include, but
are not limited to: cold storage facilities; grower cooperatives; processing facilities; distribution
centers; food-related micro-enterprises and/or incubator kitchens.
†Status reports are meant solely to aid in the NYS Council on Food Policy member’s deliberation and assessment. This document does
not represent NYS CFP final recommendations. This is strictly meant to be a working document.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
(1) Support retail initiatives such as Healthy Bodegas, Green Carts, and infrastructure initiatives
such as the revitalization of Hunt’s Point Terminal Market, NYC Wholesale Farmers’ Market
for the restaurant / small scale retailers trade, and regional markets
(2) Research Food Bank distribution/storage infrastructure to see if it is appropriate for small to
medium farm operations
(3) Consider initiatives such as: Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s mobile quick-freezing unit that
allows farmers to freeze up to 600 pounds of berries and produce a minute, thus extending
the marketing period and reducing waste
d) Step 2: Identify existing grant programs such as: USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Funds; Farm
Viability Grants; NYS ESDC Agriculture Development Funds which are most important for
addressing needs identified in Step 1.
3. Keep a positive business climate in New York by addressing obstacles to and methods for easing food and agriculture business development in NYS such as: tax and regulatory burdens; land and energy input costs; and labor demands.
a) Support comprehensive immigration reform that includes overhaul of the guest worker (H-2a)
program and incorporates key features of the Ag Jobs Bill such as earned adjustment to legal
status for experienced agricultural workers and a solution to the dairy agriculture labor issues. b) Encourage initiatives for new and beginning farmers; and the expansion/growth opportunities for
established farmers seeking new added value and expanded agricultural operations. c) Maintain existing tax credit programs for farmers and seek changes to the Empire State
Development Corporation programs that will ensure agriculture is fully eligible for all economic
development and small business assistance using metrics that recognize the full range of benefits
that agriculture provides and eliminate unnecessary paperwork.
d) Streamline regulatory burdens by identifying duplicate federal, state, and local inspection processes. e) Maintain full support for agricultural districts program, which is critical for the preservation of
farmland and farms in New York. Increase farmland protection funding and planning assistance, to
meet demand and fully integrate farmland protection into the State’s Smart Growth efforts and the
NYS Open Space Conservation Plan.
f) Compile information regarding agricultural programs and institutions, particularly business planning
and financing entities, and make such information readily accessible on the Department of
Agriculture and Markets website.