Touring the New York State Fair on opening day, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order to increase state agency purchases of New York-sourced food.

Hochul's executive order will gradually increase the percentage of state-sourced food, from New York farmers and producers, from 5% now or before the end of the year to 30% by the end of 2027. The order would look to purchase almost $400 million in food from in-state farmers, according to a press release from the governor's office.

“By increasing the amount of food State agencies must buy from local growers and producers, we are further investing in farm production and food processing in New York," Hochul said. "We will continue taking bold action to support our next generation of farmers and the future of our agricultural industry for decades to come."

The governor's office says state agencies are currently spending almost $4 million on New York-sourced food.

“This is a lesson that comes to us pretty obviously from the last couple years of COVID-19," state Department of Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said. "When we had trouble getting food into our grocery stores, people had a hard time finding milk, had a hard time finding potatoes, apples, all the things we grow.”

The plan builds from initiatives like Farm to School and Nourish New York as the agriculture industry continues to rebound from impacts of COVID and inflation.

Ball said New York needs to have a homegrown food system to bring the best food possible to people throughout the state.

“The fresher it is, the more recent it’s off of farms, the healthier it is," said Hochul. "I'm talking corn grown near my home that should be sold in schools across the state.”

For people in underserved communities, this could make a huge impact. According to the state's Department of Agriculture, a little more than 10% of households experienced food insecurity last year.

“I think it's huge. I think its a game-changer," said Ball. "You know we have in a lot of the underserved communities, there’s options for food but they’re not good options.”

Ball hopes this is only the beginning.

"I wanna see it grow," he said. "I mean 30 percent is a starting point, as far as I’m concerned.”

Hochul also signed legislation to support other, smaller fairs around New York and "bring together young people with interests in agriculture, science, and technology at the New York State Fair to develop innovative solutions to problems facing agriculture and food production."