Harvest Festival Encourages Support for Local Food Economy, Black & Minority Farmers 

Harvest Festival Encourages Support for Local Food Economy, Black & Minority Farmers 

Free event for families on October 19 at P.S.74 Hamlin Park 

BUFFALO, NY - October 10, 2019—The Good Food Buffalo Coalition and Strong Community Schools will host a Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 19 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at P.S. 74 Hamlin Park Academy BPS #74, at 126 Donaldson Road, Buffalo, NY 14208. This free event is organized by the Good Food Buffalo Coalition, led by Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), and is presented in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools New Education Bargain's Strong Community Schools.

The Harvest Festival is an opportunity for families to enjoy a free hot breakfast and lunch, participate in hands-on activities and demonstrations, and learn more about the Buffalo Farm to School (F2S) initiative and the Good Food Purchasing Program. Now in its fifth year, the Buffalo Farm to School (F2S) initiative enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing patterns and educational practices in K-12 schools. The Good Food Purchasing Program is a national movement to encourage public institutions like city agencies and public school districts to adopt food procurement policies that support environmental sustainability and strong local economies including small black and minority-owned businesses and farms in the community.

The Good Food Buffalo Coalition is a local network of more than 20 grassroots groups dedicated to the five values of the Good Food Purchasing Program—sustainability, nutrition, strong local economies, valued workforce, and animal welfare— rooted in a commitment to racial equity.  The Harvest Festival provides a way to demonstrate as well as celebrate these values.

One hundred bags of fresh produce from Urban Fruits & Veggies, a local urban farm, will be distributed to families at the event. Teachers in attendance will also receive seed packets from Fruition Seeds, an organic seed company in the Finger Lakes.

"The Buffalo F2S initiative connects schools, farms, and community partners to improve student nutrition through agriculture, health, and nutrition education; and strengthens the local economy by supporting local farmers and small food producers. Buffalo spent over $2.6 million last year on local foods so that our students may enjoy healthy and delicious menu options each and every day at school," said Bridget O'Brien Wood, Food Service Director for Buffalo Public Schools.

“We are excited to hold a fun, free event for the local community,” said Rebekah Williams, Community Organizer at MAP. “This event is made possible through the collaboration of the Good Food Buffalo Coalition partners, and we are especially pleased to support a local black farmer in procuring the 100 bags of fresh veggies. Small farmers are struggling. Farmers of color are especially vulnerable. Although there are efforts to support Minority Women Business Enterprises in Buffalo and throughout New York State, as of 2017, there were only 139 black farmers and 125 Indigenous farmers, compared to 57,155 white farmers —that means black farmers make up only a quarter of one percent of farmers in New York State. The Good Food Purchasing Program promotes the procurement of healthy, sustainably-produced local food that provides opportunities to marginalized farmers and that’s what we’re trying to show.”

Event partners include Buffalo Public Schools Child Nutrition Services, Cicatelli Associates, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County, Eat Smart NY, Fruition Seeds, Grassroots Gardens of WNY, NeuWater & Associates, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Say Yes Community Schools, the SPCA of Erie County, and many more.

For details about the Harvest Festival, visit bit.ly/HarvestFestivalBPS2019.

Panorama Hispano is the regional news and information newspaper for Hispanic and other diverse communities.

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