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Sidney CSD to receive Farm-to-School grant
The Sidney Central School District was one of 12 Farm-to-School projects across New York State to receive a grant from the state, which will help to continue the growth within the Farm-to-School program already at the school. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week that the 12 projects will receive a combined $1 million in grant money.  

Sidney CSD has led the way in farm-to-school initiatives, as it utilizes school gardens and an aquaponics system to help have fresh and locally grown vegetables for its students.

“We’re thrilled to be awarded this grant,” Sidney CSD Superintendent Dr. William Christensen said. “This allows us to continue our focus on our lunch programs and our farm-to-school program.”

Sidney’s proposal, the Sidney Farm-to-Table Initiative+10 includes Sidney, as well as 10 other component schools in the DCMO BOCES region. This initiative will serve about 10,000 students within the schools participating. The other districts include: Afton, Bainbridge-Guilford, DCMO BOCES, Downsville, Greene, Oneonta City Schools, Sherburne-Earlville, Unadilla Valley, Unatego, and Walton.

The grant, which is in the amount of $58,783, will cover the funding of a part-time Farm-to-School Coordinator and an assistant Farm-to-School Coordinator. The coordinators will be responsible for developing and overseeing an initiative that grows and procures local produce for use in starter meal kits for the districts involved for NY Thursdays, once a week. The position starts soon and is for two years.

The main coordinator will be from the Rural Health Network of Southern Central New York.
 
Additionally, the grant covers travel expense for the coordinators between districts, as well as the purchase of 10 chamber vacuum sealers, 10 salad spinners, lettuce cutters, and chopper boards. The chamber vacuum sealers will be used to seal 50-serving meal starter kits for four main dishes prepared for NY Thursdays, using all local produce.
 
“This is a great opportunity,” said Kim Corcoran, DCMO BOCES food services director. “With the assistance of the coordinator through the Rural Health Network, we’ll be able to pair local farmers and schools in three counties to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to our students.”
 
The initiative will involve, within the first two years, a minimum of five local farms for procurement of the produce for the meal starter kits.  
 
This is the third round of funding awarded. During his 2018 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo proposed doubling the state’s investment in the program to $1.5 million. 
 
The program is a major component of the state’s ongoing efforts to increase the amount of fresh, local foods serves in schools and to connect the state’s farmers to new markets. 
 
"The Farm-to-School funding from New York State provides Sidney and other DCMO BOCES districts with the opportunity to make connections with local farmers to bring in healthy local produce for our school meals on a regular basis,” said Josh Gray, a Sidney teacher who also serves as the co-chair of the Sidney Wellness committee and leads several farming initiatives at the school. “Using local fruits and vegetables keeps community dollars within the community, while at the same time providing healthier food for our kids. We are eager to increase the amount of local foods that we offer, and we are working hard to do that through school gardens and greenhouses, school aquaponics systems, and relationships with local farms."
Sidney Central School District
95 West Main Street  |  Sidney, NY 13838  |   Phone: 607.563.2135  |   Fax: 607.563.2386
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