Community Food Security

Community food security is a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, and nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance.

Food Bank of Central New York's community food security initiatives promote both the local economy and self-sufficiency among individuals using the emergency food network. By investing dollars with local farmers, establishing gardens at partner agency sites, distributing container gardens to low income individuals, and connecting families to local farmers' markets, the Food Bank creates additional access to fresh produce for families in need.

We encourage all of our partner agencies to take advantage of as many community food security initiatives as possible.

  • Garden in a Bucket: The Food Bank distributes 5-gallon buckets, a vegetable plant or seeds, and soil reimbursement to our partner agencies free of charge to hand out to clients who visit their sites. 

  • Plant a Seed: As an alternative to our Garden in a Bucket program, partner agencies can sign up to receive seed packets from the Food Bank to hand out to emergency food recipients. This is an easy way for coordinators to encourage home gardening and self-sufficiency.

  • Garden Grant: Members of the Food Bank who do not have an edible garden at their site or wish to expand a current garden have the opportunity to receive a garden grant award of $250 for supplies including plants, soil, and seeds.
  • CNY Health Bucks: This program helps provide low income families the means to shop at farmers' markets to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Consumers who use SNAP benefits also receive Health Bucks as an incentive when using electronic benefits at participating farmers' markets.
  • Produce Mini Grants: Mini grant awards provide funding up to $1,000 to emergency food programs for the sole purpose of purchasing locally grown, fresh produce direct from farmers in their communities.