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The Putnam County Food System Coalition

Welcome to the Putnam County Food System Coalition webpage! Please read below for the project summary. 

Food Insecurity in Putnam

Did you know that 28% of Putnam County residents struggle to meet their basic daily needs? As unemployment and underemployment have increased from COVID-19, the problem of food insecurity has gotten worse. Demand at food pantries has increased, and more of our neighbors are trying to grow some of their own food at home. 

In order to find lasting solutions to food insecurity, CCE Putnam has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program. 

CCE Putnam partners with local food system agencies to formalize our network of emergency food providers, farms, and agency partners. As a coalition we will work closely with local residents and leaders to plan for long-term solutions to food insecurity. Our partners will build upon past successes by addressing needs identified in a USDA-NIFA Community Food Project needs assessment. 

The three community-focused action steps of the coalition include: 

1) Identifying and coordinating geographically distributed long-term food storage locations

2) Developing and coordinating a transportation and delivery system

3) Connecting farmers with emergency food providers to make nourishing, locally grown, foods accessible to every individual in our community.

The Coalition will serve as a collective impact network of practitioners and community members, whose actions and decisions will be guided by local residents. By utilizing an asset-based approach to address needs, involving a diversity of stakeholders, we aim to create an environment where the community can lead and build long-term solutions to food insecurity. 

Initiatives

Farm Fresh Meals for Food Insecure Seniors

In Putnam County alone, more than 4000+ senior households struggle to make ends meet. Cornell Cooperative Extension Putnam County is implementing a pilot program to address this concern – we’re providing 1,600 free, nutrient-dense, frozen meals in senior centers across the county. By working with local farmers, such as SPACE on Ryder Farm and Hudson Valley Mushrooms, locally sourced produce will be prepared into complete meals by esteemed non-profit Second Chance Foods! These heart-healthy and nutrient filled meals will be placed in accessible community freezers for any senior to take home.

Funding from the Field Hall Foundation makes it possible to purchase community freezers and provide a stipend for local farms to grow produce for the program. Thanks to the Field Hall Foundation, we’re one step closer to creating a stronger and more resilient local food system!

Contact

Ruby Koch-Fienberg
Ag & Food Systems Coordinator
rek247@cornell.edu
845-278-6738x222

Last updated August 5, 2022