WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Governor Hochul signed legislation on Saturday that made the Nourish New York program a permanent piece of state law. The signing comes just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Nourish New York reroutes the state’s surplus agricultural products to populations who need them most through the state’s food banks. Food banks are buying these products from New York farmers and food processors, providing support for producers who have lost markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented hardship to so many New Yorkers and made the situations for those already struggling even worse,” Governor Hochul said. “The implementation of the Nourish NY program was a huge success in helping those facing food insecurity while also benefiting New York’s farms. As we get ready to celebrate the holidays, I am proud to sign this legislation to ensure our state will continue to combat hunger and provide for those in need.”

The state’s food banks purchased over 35 million pounds of New York food products throughout the first three rounds of Nourish New York, providing nearly 30 million meals to New Yorkers in need. As of Saturday, the state’s food banks have purchased nearly 7 million pounds of food in the fourth round of the initiative, creating over five million meals for households in need.

Since its launch in May of 2020, $85 million has been committed to Nourish NY, positively impacting 4,178 businesses throughout the state. New York farmers, suppliers, and processors are encouraged to share details about their available products, such as produce, meat, eggs, seafood, and dairy, so food banks across the state can find New York agricultural food products to purchase and distribute to communities in need.

“Nourish NY served as a critical pipeline getting food from our farms to people in need during the pandemic, especially when there were serious disruptions in the supply chain,” New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said. “Today’s action by Gov. Hochul makes the program a permanent fixture in New York State. Nourish NY will continue to assist farmers with the costs of harvesting, packaging, and transporting fruits, vegetables, dairy products and more while making sure all New Yorkers can put food on their tables. It is important that we continue to work together to strengthen New York agriculture and our local food system, so we have the ability to feed ourselves long after the pandemic subsides.”

New York farmers and suppliers interested in sharing surplus products can do so online. All products must be grown in New York, available at competitive, wholesale pricing and available by the truckload. Condiments and sweeteners are not eligible.

Food banks interested in purchasing food can search the state website by county, food type, shipping preference and more. Supplier details are available, along with dates the products are available and where they can be shipped.