SUNY Chancellor Announces Partnership with FarmOn! Foundation to Give Students Hands-on Experience from Farm to Table

July 18, 2015

Copake, NY - Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced a new partnership with the FarmOn! Foundation at its annual "Hootenanny!" event to provide State University of New York students with a cooperative education opportunity that bridges the gap between agriculture and entrepreneurship. Participants will at first come from SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State College, and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

"This announcement represents a first-of-its kind partnership, with three campuses working with a non-profit to shape the college curriculum and prepare our students for successful careers in agriculture and beyond," said Chancellor Zimpher. "We are so pleased to be working with the FarmOn! Foundation to bring these learning solutions to our students for a true hands-on experience as they develop their skills and pursue careers in this growing industry."

Joining Chancellor Zimpher at the "Hootenanny!" event will be Morrisville President David Rogers, Cobleskill Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources Timothy Moore, and Cornell CALS Assistant Dean Julie Suarez.

Students studying agriculture and food sciences, food production and management, viticulture, and hospitality, among other disciplines, will be able to live and work on an actual farm in Columbia County, gaining real life experience in the food production field. Learning will range from planting the seeds, to growing the food, harvesting it, producing it, cooking in a teaching kitchen, and extend all the way to catering the food that was produced at high-end events in New York City and other locations.

"I'm honored and privileged as a SUNY alum to partner with Chancellor Zimpher and the State University of New York to bridge the gap between higher learning and applied experiences," said Tessa Edick, founder and executive director of the FarmOn! Foundation. "We are so proud to be a part of creating innovative for students to gain meaningful work experience toward building their skills and careers."

SUNY's partnership with Edick and FarmOn! began last year, when the State University Plaza lawn was opened to host downtown Albany's only year-round farmers' market. 

SUNY believes in the power of learning by doing, with currently about 200,000 students participating in applied learning opportunities across the 64-campus system, including 30,000 in field placements, and having announced intentions to bring applied learning opportunities to full scale and made available to all SUNY students across the state. Co-op education experiences like the one FarmOn! will offer SUNY students are nationally recognized as being nearly 100 percent effective at preparing students for a career in their field and resulting in employment at graduation. 

About FarmOn! Foundation
FarmOn! Foundation is a non-profit organization of professional farmers, educators, influencers, supporters, nutritionists, students, and community leaders invested in the future of local agriculture and supporting local economies. This charity creates and funds youth educational programming and is working to preserve family farming in America. Some of FarmOn's partners include TasteNY, Applegate, Bronx Zoo, NYS Department of Ag & Markets, Local Economies Project, Whole Foods Market, Marist, Taconic Hills School District, QuestarIII, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the NBA, Disney, and SUNY.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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