Regional Farm to School Coordinator Program

Becky O'Connor, Farm to School Coordinator, WNY & Finger Lakes
Harvest New York

November 3, 2022

The Harvest NY Regional Farm to School Coordinator Program provides comprehensive support to Farm to School stakeholders, including School Food Authorities, farmers, distributors, manufacturers, processors, and food hubs. The primary goal of the program is to increase the volume and variety of local farm products purchased by SFAs for use in child nutrition programs.

To achieve this goal, Harvest NY developed a plan of work centered on the following three objectives:

  1. Provide direct support to supply chain partners.
  2. Provide statewide support via resource development, training, and technical assistance to supply chain partners.
  3. Strengthen campus-to-community connections by identifying and developing opportunities for applied Farm to School research.

What we do:

  • Find local food and farm partners
  • Work with supply chain partners on logistics, including delivery
  • Develop local food procurement plans
  • Assist with bid development that favors local foods
  • Establish Farm to School promotional campaigns, like NY Thursdays and Harvest NY
  • Assist with securing grants to expand Farm to School programming
  • Support 30% NY Initiative tracking and documentation requirements

Statewide Program Lead | Cheryl Bilinski: | (607) 592-9507

The counties listed under each Regional Coordinator are loose boundaries. If you'd like assistance and fall outside the stated counties, please reach out to Cheryl for assistance. 

Lower Hudson Valley | Putnam, Rockland, Orange, and Westchester Counties

Kristy Apostolides: | (845) 429-7085, ext. 106


Upper Hudson Valley | Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Delaware Counties

Katie Sheehan-Lopez: | (845) 340-3990, ext. 334

Western NY | Erie, Chautauqua, Allegany, Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, and Yates Counties

Becky O'Connor: | (845) 706-0293


Long Island | Suffolk and Nassau Counties

Amy Bly and Sandy Menasha: | (631) 827-1015 (Amy), (Sandy)


Central NY | Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, Cortland, Tompkins, Lewis, and Jefferson Counties

Lizzy Cooper: | (315) 630-0405

North Eastern, NY | Franklin, Clinton, and Essex Counties

Meghan Dohman: | (518) 962-4810 x405


New York City SJ Whelan: | (929) 895-2257

F2S Coordinator Map (jpg; 2569KB)

Upcoming Events

Urban Berry Project: Growing Strawberries 101

May 29, 2024
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Upper Manhattan, NY

Join Makela Elvy, Anya Osatuke, and Dan Olmstead from Cornell University, along with the NYRP Urban Ag team, for a deep dive into everything strawberry! For beginning gardeners and advanced growers alike, this hands-on workshop will include an introduction to some of the preferred NYC-loving varieties, as well as a chance to plant out a new bed of strawberries in the Riley-Levin Demonstration Garden. SPACE is LIMITED! Registration is required.

New York State Honeyberry Conference

June 29, 2024
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Mexico, NY

Join CCE Oswego and CCE Harvest NY for a state-wide conference on a new emerging fruit called Honeyberry, also known as Haskap (Lonicera caerulea). Honeyberries are a dark blue color, like blueberries, but with a distinct oval shape. The taste is most associated with raspberry and blueberry, while also containing its own distinctive flavor. The fruit can grow in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 1 to 8 and can survive up to 30 years or longer if properly managed. What makes the fruit unique is that it ripens from the middle of June through early July. This allows the fruit to sit comfortably between the strawberry and blueberry season. When fully mature plants can produce 6 to 10 lbs. of berries, which can be eaten as a fresh fruit or made into value-added products.

The conference will cover the history of the fruit, best growing practices, processing, value-added production, and marketing. Guest speakers will include growers and researchers from the US and Canada, including Dr. Bob Bors from the University of Saskatchewan. Attendees will also be able to network and attend an optional farm tour immediately after the conference. 


Field Guide: Arthropod Pests of NYC Vegetables

Arthropod Pests of NYC Vegetables aims to help urban farmers and gardeners find, identify, and understand the most common and important insects and other arthropod pests found in New York City farms and gardens. Some of these pests are rarely mentioned in other guides but are common in NYC. The guide emphasizes scouting tips, including how to identify pests by the damage they leave behind, even when you can't find the insect itself.

This guide was created as a collaboration between Cornell Cooperative Extension's Harvest New York team and the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.