New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to report that the Nourish New York Bill has passed both houses of the New York State Legislature.
Bill S.4892-A-Hinchey/A.5781-A-Cruz would make the Nourish New York program permanent. Created on a temporary basis in response to COVID-19, the program provides food banks and emergency shelters with state funding to purchase fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and dairy products. The Albany Times Union reports that “since Nourish New York began over a year ago, 21 million pounds of surplus agricultural products have been directly purchased from more than 4,000 state farms and delivered to more than 1.3 million residents in need.” According to Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-Saugerties), the bill’s Senate sponsor, COVID-19 has caused New York’s farmers to lose as much as 50 percent of their market due to restrictions on schools, restaurants, and hotels, and the program has become an “‘important alternative revenue stream for the state’s agricultural sector.’”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms continues to support the Nourish New York program because it benefits New Yorkers in three ways. First, Nourish New York helps to supply food banks and emergency shelters—some of which are operated by churches and Christian charities—with fresh food. Food banks and shelters provide much-needed support to New Yorkers who experience food insecurity. Many such organizations have encountered increased need for their services because of the pandemic and its aftermath. Second, Nourish New York offers New York’s farmers the chance to sell surplus products that they might not otherwise be able to sell. Third, Nourish New York reduces food waste. Also, the Nourish New York program is not government-centric; rather, it empowers the agricultural sector and the nonprofit sector to work together in response to an urgent need.
The Nourish New York Bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 63-0 and passed the State Assembly by a vote of 147-0. It is hoped that the bill will be enacted promptly.