Growing Putnam County Farmer Partnership Begins Pilot Program Offering Free Meals for Local Seniors

Growing Putnam County Farmer Partnership Begins Pilot Program
Offering Free Meals for Local Seniors

PUTNAM CO., N.Y. – Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County (CCEPC) kicked off Bountiful
Meals, an innovative pilot program in coordination with Putnam County Office for Senior Resources
offering free, nutrient-dense, frozen meals at senior centers across the county throughout the winter. The
meals are available for free in community freezers for any senior to take home and enjoy, filling the gaps
when fresh food is difficult to access.
The initiative came out of the Putnam County Food System Coalition Food Systems Needs Assessment,
funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The Needs Assessment identified two
primary barriers to accessing food: inadequate income and a lack of reliable transportation to nearby
grocery stores and food pantries. With food pantries across the nation facing higher demands due to
decreased donations, supply chain delays and inflation, free senior meals can lessen demands on
strained emergency food providers.
Adam Mahon from SPACE on Ryder Farm, one of the produce providers, said, “My ambitions as a grower
are to continually improve my ability to grow the highest quality produce I am capable of, and to lower the
barriers of access to that produce.” Additionally, Hudson Valley Mushrooms and Bluestone Farms are
some of the local Putnam county farms receiving a stipend to participate in the program, growing hearthealthy produce like butternut squash, tomatoes, and earthy shiitakes. Second Chance Foods, a local
nonprofit that recovers produce and meat from local grocery stores and farms before it is wasted,
prepares the fresh produce to create delicious, nutrient-dense meals for the pilot. Meal options rotate
regularly, with offerings such as vegetable and chicken stir-fry and Sicilian white bean and escarole
The pilot program is funded generously in part by The Field Hall Foundation, with additional financial
support from United Way of Westchester and Putnam. This new community freezer pilot program
provides free, nutritious meals for senior citizens at a convenient location, financially supports our local
farmers, and improves health-related impacts of food insecurity!
Currently, freezers are located at the Friendship Center in Philipstown and Putnam County Friendship
Center at Putnam Valley, and will move to the William Koehler Memorial Senior Center and Carmel
Friendship Center after the new year.

For information about the Office for Senior Resources’ programs and services please visit OSR’s website or call (845) 808-1700 or visit Putnam County Office for Senior
Resources on Facebook.
For information about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County’s community programs and
events, go to Stay connected to CCEPC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County provides equal program and employment opportunities.
Please contact our office at 845-278-6738 if you have any special needs.

Author: Harlem Valley News