Niagara Falls, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins today announced $45,000 in federal funding for Niagara Falls City School District. The funding allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program was created to increase local foods served through child nutrition programs, teach children about agriculture, and develop schools’ and farmers’ capacities to participate in farm to school programs. The Niagara Falls City School District will use this funding to develop a network of local farmers to provide produce, dairy and meat products to the district’s food service program. The project will enable the district to develop relationships with local producers, create a plan to integrate local products into district curricula, and develop a student-driven marketing plan to encourage students to consume more local products.
“It is essential our children learn the value of healthy eating at a young age,” said Senator Schumer. “Not only will this federal funding help the Niagara Falls City School District access nutritious foods for its students, but the meals will also be locally sourced. This means both our local farmers and our kids benefit – making it a win-win for New York’s agricultural industry and the community as a whole.”
“We need to make access and serving healthy food at our schools a priority,” said Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “By investing in nutrition initiatives for our schools, we are not only ensuring kids are eating nutritious food, we are also creating opportunities for our local farmers. Through these additional resources the Niagara Falls City School District will be able to expand their ability to reach more schools with local products.”
“Lessons in healthy eating and nutrition at an early age impart behaviors that can last a lifetime,” said Congressman Higgins. “This funding helps to reinforce efforts by the schools, engage and expose students to healthy food choices and support local growers.”
“This grant will enable us to do even more to teach students lifelong, healthy eating habits that will benefit them, as well as local farmers,” said Superintendent Cynthia A. Bianco. “It will augment our efforts to teach the connection between locally-produced products and the science connecting locally-produced farm products, good nutrition, lifetime health, and community economics. We are very pleased and grateful to be a recipient of this grant.”
Farm to school programs are one of the many tools and resources USDA offers to help schools successfully serve healthier meals. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 authorized and funded USDA to establish a Farm to School Program in order to strengthen or develop new partnerships, collaboration between eligible schools, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, agricultural producer groups, and other community partners to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.