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Farm to Institution New York State

New York is one of the nation’s top food-producing states with 36,000 farms and over 7 million acres of farmland.  Yet, New York has lost roughly 4,500 farms to real estate development since the early 1980s with farmers needing greater economic opportunities to sustain their businesses.  At the same time, efforts to bring healthy, high-quality food to groups served by institutions have been growing around New York.  These initiatives are having real impact but often face challenges in securing an adequate supply of local food suitable for institutional markets while farmers and food businesses grapple with insufficient and variable institutional food markets.   

Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) is a statewide partnership of agricultural, public health and economic development partners who have come together to strengthen New York’s regional food economy and improve the health of its citizens.  FINYS’ goal is to tackle systemic barriers to increasing the volume of food produced in New York that is served in public and private institutions, including colleges, schools, hospitals, emergency food providers and senior centers.

Scaling Up: Strategies for Expanding Sales of Local Food to Public and Private Institutions in New York represents the work of the FINYS Working Group to identify priority issues and recommendations to increase food production as well as grow demand by institutions and all of the links in the supply chain between farm field and institutional plate.

Farm to Institution 2-page summary (pdf)


FINYS is a partnership that was launched in 2013 as the outgrowth of a 9-month stakeholder engagement process.  The partnership is focused on projects in the following areas:

  • Regional Networks and Partnerships – build strong relationships and regional networks among farmers, food businesses and institutions.
  • Farm to Institution (F2I)  Market Readiness Training Program- train farmers to scale up food production with a focus on food safety, packaging and requirements of institutional food service.
  • Farm to College and Farm to Nutrition Assistance Pilot Projects – support pilot projects in promising institutional sectors including Farm to College and Farm to Nutrition Assistance. 
  • Farm to Institution Research Analysis– of local food purchasing by public and private institutions, including demand for specific New York foods and best practices among institutions. 
  • Statewide Communication & Coordination - encourage communication and action across New York.


FINYS has been launched with help from American Farmland Trust, the FINYS Leadership Team and FINYS Coordinators, Glenda Neff and Chris Grace. FINYS Leadership Team members include: 

David Haight, American Farmland Trust

Kelly Young, New York Farm Bureau

Jim Liebow, New York State School Nutrition Association

Mitch Gruber, Foodlink

Imran Khan, NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets

Olivia Blanchflower, GrowNYC

Linda LaViolette, Empire State Development

Kimberly Libman, New York Academy of Medicine

Kathleen Harris, Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company

Todd Erling, Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation

Sarah Brannen, New World Foundation/Local Economies Project

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May Ellen Mallia, SUNY Albany


Cheryl Thayer, Cornell Cooperative Extension

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 Ray Denniston, New York State Council on Food Policy


The FINYS partnership has been launched with funding from the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation and New World Foundation Local Economies Project


Glenda Neff, (315) 255-6958,

Chris Grace, (718) 207-4967,


February 18, 2014 – Press Release – American Farmland Trust Receives $200,000 Grant To Expand Local Markets For Farmers Through The Farm To Institution New York State Partnership

December 18, 2013 – Governor Signs Food Metrics Bill Into Law

October 28, 2013 – Wall Street Journal – NY College Campuses to Get More Local Farm Goods

October 23, 2013 – Press Release – American Farmland Trust Helps Link Farmers to Four SUNY Campuses to Promote Use of Local Produce

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