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Local program connects farms with students to the benefit of all

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — October is Farm-to-School month, and Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced a major boost to the local program.

One and a half million dollars will be available to school districts as part of the fifth round of funding for the program.

Over the past ten years, this program has grown exponentially, so much so that local districts spent one and a half million dollars on local produce last year, and that number is expected to grow once again.

The program connects local farmers with schools in an effort to both support local growers and producers as well as improve nutrition for students.

The Rural Health Network Of South Central New York says it’s important to educate people on where their food comes from because it allows us to make healthier choices.

The group says it’s not just about connecting farmers with schools, and their work doesn’t stop at the cafeteria.

“Doing a lot of education to also get kids to want to eat that food, understand where it comes from,” said Erin Summerlee, the food health services director for the organization. “We work with partner organizations who do more agricultural education like cooperative extension, and then also providing resources to teachers to integrate this into curriculum.”

Administrators believe local districts could spend upward of two million dollars on locally grown food this year. Districts have until November 7th to apply for this round of funding.

Josh Rosenblatt

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