As 2013 comes to a close, the Food and Health Network reflects on its accomplishments for the year as it plans for 2014. At our annual planning meeting on December 12th, we shared stories of success with our members and partners. Some of FaHN’s highlights:
Farm to Institution Educational Meeting Series: In 2013, FaHN held monthly meetings across the region to better understand the challenges and barriers of farm to institution. Meetings explored topics such as GAP food safety certification, farm to college, food hubs, and institutional procurement policies.
Healthier Food Procurement: Through the Sustaining Farm to School in New York State pilot program and the Broome County Comprehensive Cancer Prevention grant, FaHN is helping more local institutions procure healthy food for their cafeterias. Local tomatoes and apples found their way to cafeterias in Binghamton City, Johnson City, and Owego-Apalachin school districts thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Sustaining Farm to School in NYS pilot. For the Broome County Comprehensive Cancer Prevention grant, FaHN developed a multi-faceted, year-long communications plan and conducted a Community Assessment on Food Procurement Barriers with the goal of helping county agencies including Meals on Wheels of Western Broome, Broome Central Foods, and the Broome County YMCA employ procurement standards consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Preschoolers Growing Their Own Food: Working in partnership with the Lisle Community Garden, AmeriCorps members with FaHN and the Rural Health Network of South Central New York helped expand gardens at the Whitney Point Preschool & Daycare.
Local food events: FaHN assisted with planning for the Growing Markets 2013 Conference and Annual Hobart Farmers Luncheon, Broome County Farm to You Fest!, Tioga County Food Day, and held its own community forum on the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Check out the FaHN 2013 Year in Review for more on these stories and others.
And this is what some our members are celebrating for 2013:
Food Bank of the Southern Tier (FBST): Through the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program, FBST purchased 300,000 pounds of fresh produce and was able to connect pantries and soup kitchens in Tompkins County with the Full Plate Farm Collective CSA, using local produce to help alleviate hunger.
Tioga County Health Department (TCHD) completed the Tioga County Community Health Assessment this year and incorporated data from FaHN’s Regional Food System Assessment for South Central NY. TCHD also co-planned the most successful Tioga County Food Day yet!
TouchPoint Support Services at Lourdes Hospital has had the most success purchasing locally grown produce and continues to expand it local food procurement program.
Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments (VINES): The Binghamton Urban Farm succeeded in producing over 3,500 pounds of produce and completed its first year of the Binghamton Farm Share Around the Corner program, which brings affordable weekly shares of produce from local farms to locations throughout the Binghamton community.