Photo Caption: (Left to Right)  James Galbato, Brigiotta’s Farmland Produce; Luke Fodor, St. Luke's Rector; Cassandra Skal and Emily Reynolds, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County; Linnea Haskin, Jamestown Public Market; Vince DeJoy, City of Dunkirk Director of Planning and Development.

CCE of Chautauqua County is proud to announce a new partnership

CCE of Chautauqua County Leads Community Partners in Funding Grant Proposal Aimed at Expanding Local Food Access

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (February 27, 2023) -- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County is excited to announce the exciting collaboration with local agencies and municipalities to expand local food access. Recent work among several partners across the county illustrates the potential of collaboration to address an important concern: food security.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County is proud to announce a partnership with several organizations, municipalities, and businesses on a recent funding grant opportunity offered via New York State Agriculture and Markets. In January of this year, CCE submitted a proposal for the NY Food for NY Families program, aiming to bring significant dollars to Chautauqua County focused on expanding healthy food access and economic development for local agricultural growers and producers.

CCE’s proposal includes the implementation of several distribution sites and events across Chautauqua County, which if funded would begin in the summer of 2023. CCE hopes to hire a coordinator who would oversee the project, working with county and regional farmers, dairy producers, and other NYS Agriculture producers to procure produce, dairy products, meat products, baked goods, and other local foods. Over $500,000 would be invested in NYS products. Brigiotta’s Farmland Produce aims to be the lead partner in packaging NYS procured foods into up to 500 individual boxes per week. Distribution events will include collaborative sites with partners Office of the Aging’s Local Roots Program, aimed at servicing senior citizens in areas such as Brocton, Cassadaga, and Fredonia; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Jamestown Public Market’s Mobile Market program, aimed at low-income and minority communities; Rural Ministries of Dunkirk, aimed at servicing food insecure individuals; and Five Loaves + 20 Fish Ministries, servicing the ‘food desert’ area of Sherman/Clymer, specifically youth and families.

If awarded funds, CCE will plan food distribution sites across the county easily accessible for the community. Each site will provide distribution of NYS food boxes at no cost to community members, first come, first serve. Distribution sites will be hosted for a total of 40 weeks between June 2023 and August 2024, and promoted via social media, print media, and traditional outreach. Community members will not be required to pre-register or provide identification or other means of documentation to receive a box of NYS grown/produced food. Each box will average 10-12 pounds, and include a variety of produce, meats, and other products.

CCE is proud to partner with such a wide range of services and organizations across the county to increase food access. Food insecurity is a high concern for Chautauqua County, with 17% of residents living below the poverty line. Vince DeJoy, Planning and Development Director for the City of Dunkirk, understands the importance of such a project, “The NY Food for NY Families grant application, if funded, will have a profoundly positive effect for families that want to provide healthy and sustainable fresh locally grown and processed foods for families in Dunkirk; at the same time strengthening our collaborative efforts county-wide with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Jamestown Public Market, and Chautauqua Rural Ministry.”

The goal of the project will be to increase access to healthy, local foods, while providing a guaranteed income for local farms and NYS producers. Longer-term impacts of the project include deeper connection between local farms and wholesale outlets, such as Brigiottas; a better understanding of the food access needs of county residents; and a sustainable food distribution model that could be replicated across the county at churches, schools, or other community service organizations.

Announced in late 2022, the NY Food for NY Families funding aims to “…create a more resilient statewide food system that supports local farms and provides high quality, nutritious food to communities facing food insecurity. Food purchases will support local and traditionally disadvantaged farmers by building and expanding economic opportunities and creating new marketing channels for them within the state while ensuring local food gets to New York families who need it most.”

For CCE, a wider coalition made perfect sense. Many organizations, such as OFA and St. Luke’s have been engaged in food access programs for several years. Expanding partnerships to include other food service groups and municipalities provides opportunity to reach community members in both urban centers and more rural areas of the county. There was limited time to put together a proposal for funding, and CCE credits its community partners for the successful submission of the RFP.

CCE is hopeful that NYS will award funding for Chautauqua County, and that this is just the start of a wider county effort to address food access needs.

Grant partner Linnea Haskin, director of the Jamestown Public Market, shares the potential impact such funding could have, “Chautauqua County is unique in our size geographically. We face many challenges other communities face when it comes to food access; lack of transportation, needs of vulnerable groups such as seniors and youth, and a need to invest more in local farms and ag producers. We are proud to partner with CCE and other organizations who share our mission of feeding the community. We are hopeful NYS understands the needs of our area and invests in our community so we can support our ag producers, while feeding our community.”

For more information on the NYS Food for NYS Families initiative visit:

The Agriculture Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a subordinate governmental agency with an educational mission that operates under a form of organization and administration approved by Cornell University as agent for the State of New York. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The association is part of the national cooperative extension system, an educational partnership between County, State, and Federal governments. As New York’s land grant university Cornell administers the system in this state. Each Cornell Cooperative Extension association is an independent employer that is governed by an elected Board of Directors with general oversight from Cornell. All associations work to meet the needs of the counties in which they are located as well as state and national goals. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Last updated February 27, 2023