Utica, NY (WIBX) - A two year, $7,500 United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area grant was awarded to a coalition working to develop a database system that will describe all aspects of the area's food system. Jim Manning, Farm Business Management Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, says the funding will allow the groups to map and identify local producers, processors, distributors and consumers who participate in the food system. "What will we be doing specifically with the United Way grant is doing some database development and gathering information where we have gaps in our information about who the participants in the food system are," Manning said.

He says it directly relates to the formation of the Oneida County Food Policy Council. Manning said, "We've been working with Rust To Green of Utica and have received a grant from the USDA under their Hunger Free Communities Program, which will eventually lead to the formation of the Food Policy Council and a proposed set of plans and policies to eliminate hunger in our communities."

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, Rust To Green Utica and the Food Policy Working Group are tasked with the 2 year food system project that got off the ground in March of this year. In addition to the United Way grant, the coalition is operating on a $100,000 USDA grant. Researchers say the end goal is to help area residents access nutrition food and teach them about where it comes from. For more information on the project, or to be listed in the database visit, www.cceoneida.com.