Overview

When schools use food products from local sources, they are supporting local farmers and providing healthy choices for children in school meal programs, while also supporting the local economy. This initiative is intended to provide healthy New York sourced food products, such as farm fresh products, to children as part of their lunch meal in school. School food authorities (SFAs) applying to the initiative should, to the best extent possible, reach the required threshold with healthy, farm fresh items served with the reimbursable lunch meal and should limit the inclusion of a la carte snack foods.

Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2018 provides school food authorities (SFAs) with increased State reimbursement for the purchase of New York State (NYS) food products for school lunch programs.  This initiative will be referred to as the “30% NYS Initiative.” As of July 1, 2022, the Department (AGM) has taken the lead on this initiative.

Apply

To incentivize school districts to use more New York State farm products, the initiative increases the reimbursement schools receive for lunches from 5.9 cents per meal to 25 cents per meal for any district that purchases at least 30 percent ingredients for their school lunch program from New York farms. School districts that have reached the 30 percent threshold can apply for reimbursement under the new initiative.

SFAs that purchase food items and prepare their own school lunches, or SFAs that contract with a Food Service Management Company to purchase food items and prepare school lunches are eligible to participate in the 30% NYS Initiative. SFAs that procure school lunches from a vendor* are NOT eligible to participate. SFAs must apply annually to receive this additional reimbursement. 

A vendor is defined as a company (commercial enterprise, nonprofit organization, or public entity) that prepares, cooks, and packages unitized/bulk form meals, off-site at their own facilities and delivers them.  Vendors provide meals only and do not manage any aspect of the school food service. 

To apply to the 30% NYS Initiative for the 2021-2022 school year, please see the application document below.

Guidance

For guidance on participating in the 30% NYS Initiative please use the 30% NYS Initiative Handbook linked below. Additional guidance documents are also linked.

How to Participate

For a step-by-step on how to participate in this initiative, please see the "Instructions for How to Participate" section located on page 5 of the 30% NYS Initiative Handbook, available below. In general, the process includes:

  • STEP 1. Determine your 30% Threshold using the 30% calculator.
  • STEP 2. Determine what NY items to serve at lunch - CCE eligible NYS food product list.
  • STEP 3. Develop a plan to track and document NYS foods served at lunch.
  • STEP 4. Work with vendors and local farmers to determine what are NY items, and obtain supporting documentation.
  • STEP 5. Procure NYS food products.
  • STEP 6. Menu and serve NYS food products at lunch.
  • STEP 7. Track and document NY items served during lunch throughout the school year.
  • STEP 8. Apply to the 30% NYS Initiative each year through The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • STEP 9. Receive additional State reimbursement in the following School Year (SY). 

Additional guidance documents are available below.