For Immediate Release
October 9, 2015
Contact: Susan Kirkpatrick, 716-866-8002 or skirkpatrick@BNMC.org
USDA Awards Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus $25,000 Planning Grant
Funding will Support the Development of a Farm-to-Institution Program to bring Local, Healthy Food Options to Medical Facilities
Buffalo, N.Y., October 9, 2015 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) is the recipient of a $25,000 planning grant under its Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). The grant is awarded as part of a program to support local and regional food systems as part of the USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies and communities.
The planning grant will be used to conduct market research and develop a plan to promote local food procurement policies and practices on the Medical Campus. The goal of the planning process is to open new market opportunities to local small and mid-sized farms, as well as to increase the health and wellness of patients, visitors and Campus employees.
The BNMC partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest NY and Fork & Field Network to secure the grant, and will work with both organizations throughout the planning process. The grant, expected to last for a 6-12 month period, will fund research to determine current baseline levels of locally-sourced food used in Campus institutions, to research the possible supply levels from local farmers, to identify barriers faced by farmers in supplying to Campus, and to identify best practices from similar medical facilities across the country.
The BNMC will work with its member institutions across the Campus including the University at Buffalo (UB), Kaleida Health and Roswell Park Cancer Institute throughout the planning process, with the goal of developing and implementing a program within the member institutions.
According to Cheryl Thayer, Agricultural Economic Development Specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest NY, “New York State ranks as one of the top agricultural producers in the nation and yet we lag behind other parts of the country in connecting farms to hospital supply chains. Our goal is to be a leader in creating new models that will benefit local farmers and provide increased opportunities for healthy food options.”
Jonathan McNeice, Healthy Communities Planner at the BNMC added, “We believe that creating a local food procurement program can benefit local farms while improving nutrition and ultimately health, for patients, visitors and Campus Employees. This grant will help us significantly in learning more about our current practices and how we can work much more collaboratively with our local farm community.”
As part of the grant agreement, the BNMC will provide a 25 percent matching in the amount of $8,333 to the program. Healthcare Without Harm, a coalition of hospitals and health care organizations whose mission is to transform the health sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, will provide additional research, training and mentoring for the planning phase.
For more information about the USDA awards, visit http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdamediafb?contentid=2015/10/0273.xml&printable=true&contentidonly=true
About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC)
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) is a self-sustaining social enterprise successfully combining innovation, job creation, and urban revitalization. It serves as the umbrella organization of the anchor institutions that make up the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus located within the 120-acre campus bordering Allentown, the Fruit Belt and Downtown. The BNMC fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, its partners and the community to address critical issues impacting them, including entrepreneurship, energy, access and transportation, workforce and procurement, neighborhoods, and healthy communities, with the goal of increasing economic development and building a strong community. bnmc.org.
About Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest NY
The Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest NY (CCE HNY) team aims to increase investment and jobs in agricultural and food systems to enhance the viability of farms through expansion, value-added production, diversification, and distribution of locally produced farm goods.
About Fork & Field Network
Field & Fork Network is a food and farming organization. Our mission is to build capacity for a thriving regional food system in Western New York. We promote connections between consumers, food producers, and food buyers in the eight-county region. We strive to create a practical economic engine for local, sustainable agriculture and to provide our region with access to fresh, healthy food.