NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A5781A
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the
Nourish New York program
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
The purpose of the legislation is to create the Nourish NY program
permanently in the Agriculture & Markets Law
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section. 1: - Declaration of Legislative Findings & Intent Creates defi-
nitions used in the creation language for the Nourish NY program Estab-
lishes the Nourish NY program as a new Section 452 of the Ag & Markets
Law The Commissioner of Ag&Mkts, in consultation with the DOH, will
review the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) The
Commissioner of Ag&Mkts will review and report on the need to establish
a grant program for cold storage equipment purchase
Section 2: Effective date.
While the Nourish New York program was developed in response to
disrupted food supply chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has
emerged as an important innovation, significantly supporting the state's
farms while providing nourishing fresh foods to people experiencing food
insecurity. The COVID-19 crisis unveiled the weaknesses in our state's
food supply system. and has caused serious economic hardships for the
state's farms and agribusinesses. But, in the 10 months since its incep-
tion, Nourish New York has already strengthened the state's food supply
network and expanded markets for New York farm products. The local food
movement has also gained significant momentum during the pandemic, with
increasing numbers of New Yorkers wanting to know where their food is
sourced. This presents the state with a major opportunity to support our
local economies and create greater equity in our food system by provid-
ing greater access to local, healthy options in food-insecure areas
through making the Nourish New York program permanent.
This legislation addresses the need to support the Nourish NY program
and moves to improve the funding for emergency food distribution and its
structure through a review of the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition
Assistance Program and our State's Food Bank system. Growing rates of
hunger and food insecurity were exacerbated by the Covid-19 Pandemic and
the need to review how New York's emergency food system can be improved
through increased funding and system changes is now very clear.
As we are all now well aware, the current funding levels for HPNAP have
been deemed inappropriate by anti-hunger advocates and the current level
of funding fails to meet the standard of providing three full meals per
day for at least three days per week. In addition:
* Pre-pandemic, some 2.7 million New Yorkers already depended daily on
SNAP (food stamps) to put food on their table;
* Prior to the 2017 boom in employment rates, NYS had over 3.1 million
* That is one in six New Yorkers needing help to buy food;
* Simultaneously, food banks and food pantries have been operating but
with outdated funding and structural shortfalls to deal with the growing
need to feed the growing indigent;
* New York State has the dubious distinction of having three of its
largest cities as TOP TEN in the nation their size with the highest
rates of poverty;
* Child poverty rates in some upstate cities have crossed the 65% mark.
(that is a child living in a family of 4 making less than $26,000 per
* Elderly poverty rates are an embarrassment to our state and nation as
in some communities 70% of minority women over 80 years of age live
below the federal poverty line for a single individual. In a nutshell,
NYS has an inadequate emergency food system that needs review, updating,
additional funding, and other structural changes to meet the growing
demand to combat hunger and food insecurity. This bill sets this process
This act shall take effect immediately and with a report due to the
Governor and Legislature no later than February 1, 2022.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
February 25, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. CRUZ, LUPARDO, BARRON, AUBRY, GUNTHER, KELLES,
STECK, FERNANDEZ, CLARK, THIELE, RODRIGUEZ, JACKSON, DeSTEFANO --
Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. B. MILLER -- read once and referred to
the Committee on Agriculture -- committee discharged, bill amended,
ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the
Nourish New York program
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new
2 article 27 to read as follows:
3 ARTICLE 27
4 NOURISH NEW YORK
5 Section 450. Declaration of legislative findings and intent.
6 451. Definitions.
7 452. Nourish New York program.
8 § 450. Declaration of legislative findings and intent. While the Nour-
9 ish New York program was developed in response to disrupted food supply
10 chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has emerged as an important
11 innovation, significantly supporting the state's farms while providing
12 nourishing fresh foods to people experiencing food insecurity. The
13 COVID-19 crisis unveiled the weaknesses in our state's food supply
14 system and has caused serious economic hardships for the state's farms
15 and agribusinesses. But, in the ten months since its inception, Nourish
16 New York has already strengthened the state's food supply network and
17 expanded markets for New York farm products. The local food movement has
18 also gained significant momentum during the pandemic, with increasing
19 numbers of New Yorkers wanting to know where their food is sourced.
20 This presents the state with a major opportunity to support our local
21 economies and create greater equity in our food system by providing
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 5781--A 2
1 greater access to local, healthy options in food insecure areas through
2 making the Nourish New York program permanent.
3 § 451. Definitions. 1. "Food relief organization" means a religious
4 organization or other not-for-profit that provides food for free to
5 persons experiencing food insecurity, including but not limited to a
6 food pantry, food bank, or soup kitchen or community-based organization
7 that provides food for free to persons experiencing food insecurity.
8 2. "Surplus agricultural products" means consumable or edible agricul-
9 tural products grown in New York but shall not include condiments,
10 sweeteners or beverages containing alcohol.
11 § 452. Nourish New York program. 1. The commissioner shall, to the
12 extent permitted by state or federal appropriations for such purpose,
13 facilitate programming that ensures surplus agricultural products are
14 provided to food relief organizations at competitive wholesale prices.
15 2. The commissioner shall provide technical assistance and information
16 about the program to food relief organizations, producers of surplus
17 agricultural products and the public, including, but not limited to,
18 information posted on the department's website.
19 3. The commissioner shall provide means, which may include posting on
20 the department's website, for producers to make available surplus agri-
21 cultural products and for food relief organizations to access surplus
22 agricultural products.
23 4. The commissioner, in consultation with the department of health,
24 shall review the current funding structure, funding adequacy and current
25 service levels of the hunger prevention nutrition assistance program in
26 all regions of the state. Review of current service levels shall take
27 into account the size of the service area, the population in need of
28 such hunger prevention nutrition assistance program and the need for
29 additional facilities within a region in order to address increasing
30 food insecurity and hunger. Following such review, the commissioner
31 shall make and report any recommendations, including but not limited to,
32 increasing the maximum amount of money each food pantry may be allocated
33 by such program, whether such program funding should be indexed for
34 inflation annually, and any structural and funding adequacy changes
35 deemed necessary.
36 5. The commissioner shall review and report on the need to establish a
37 grant program to fund the purchase of cold storage equipment for
38 regional food banks, food pantries and other emergency food organiza-
39 tions. Such grant program shall prioritize regions of the state that
40 have the highest demand for emergency food and regions of the state
41 where regional food banks and pantries have determined the need for more
42 capacity to safely store perishable food before such food is distrib-
43 uted. Such report shall be completed and submitted to the governor and
44 the legislature no later than February first, two thousand twenty-two.
45 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.