This holiday season farmers from around New York State are giving the gift of food. The New York Farm Bureau announced on Tuesday that they donated more than 10,600,000 pounds of food this year through November, and dropped off another shipment to the Food Bank of Central New York. The food donation is the largest from state farmers in a single year, and translates to almost 9,000,000 meals for New Yorkers in need.
Dan Palladino is the Onondaga Farm Bureau President. He says there’s no reason for people to be without access to food.
“If you look around, you look at all this food and we talk about hungry people. Here the food is,” Palladino said. “So it’s about getting it in the hands of the individuals. There’s always excess, whether it’s from the vegetable farms, from dairy farms, or the egg producers.”
The food was collected as part of the nationwide “Harvest for All” program run by the farm bureaus and food banks across America. The goal of the program is to improve quality of life for people by offering healthy food options where they are not otherwise available. Palladino says knowledge of how to prepare foods might be just as important as access to them.
“We have tremendous agriculture in Central New York. We have the ability to feed all of our people, but I feel that people have lost the knowledge of how to prepare it and how to use it because everything has been processed or us,” Palladino said. “So I think this could be a huge awakening in the fact that you can give people what would traditionally be more expensive stuff that’s better for them at a cheaper basis for everybody.”
There’s an abundance of dairy farmers in Upstate New York. New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Chair Kristen Brown says Northern NY residents are being encouraged to donate the gift of milk.
“They’re recommending people to either donate money, where $20 will donate ten gallons of milk. Or they can donate the milk directly to the food bank, because typically milk is one of the top needed foods to the food banks, Brown said.”
Food Bank of CNY serves 280 emergency food assistance programs in eleven counties. Local supermarkets may donate food and the public can make monetary donations. It is said that one dollar pays for three meals. For more information, click here.