Publication Date



Starting with the commitments from 12 State University of New York (SUNY) campuses to purchase tomato sauce ahead of the growing season, “SUNY Commits to Agriculture” launched a pilot to leverage its large and predictable buying power to boost the NYS agricultural infrastructure. This initiative led to a funding opportunity through a specialty crop block grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture, that involves four state colleges working with the Farm To Institution New York State (FINYS) to create a Farm to College pilot program. This involves a statewide partnership of agricultural, public health and economic development interests who are working with foodservice providers on these campuses. The goal is to increase the use of fresh, frozen and processed vegetables raised by New York farmers by 20% in the selected campuses and create a model for the state university system. The pilot seeks to identify and remove the barriers to increasing the volume of local food. The project began in the fall of 2014 and will conclude this spring. The panel discussion will focus on the data collection, local sourcing and procurement and developing marketing plans. The presentation will walk the participants through data collection, the development of site teams and the planning and coordination of effective marketing strategies across campuses. It is expected that this pilot can serve as a template for other schools to replicate, with an emphasis on developing strategies commons throughout other university systems or collegiate councils.