Rochester, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $125,000 in federal funding for Foodlink, Inc. based in Rochester. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA grants support research and programs that help specialty crop growers achieve long-term viability, high yield, and labor efficient production of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Specifically, Foodlink will use the funding to expand their Curbside Market and Lexington Avenue Urban Farm program to provide fresh and affordable food to individuals in low-income communities throughout the Greater Rochester area.
The Curbside Market reaches eight counties and serves over 20,000 individuals annually. Curbside Market also accepts SNAP and Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) benefits. This funding will allow them to expand operations and increase their capacity to produce more food that can go to individuals at the Curbside and purchase a new vehicle that will allow customers in wheelchairs and walkers to shop for food on the truck.
“By supporting organizations like Foodlink, we can promote healthy eating and provide access to nutritious foods for New Yorkers who might not otherwise have the option,” said Senator Schumer. “Fresh and affordable food shouldn’t be a luxury for the people of the Greater Rochester area. This Foodlink program will not only benefit tens of thousands of people in the Rochester area, but also help our farmers by increasing their production and yields for the year.”
“We need to make access to healthy foods a priority in our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “By investing in nutrition initiatives, we are not only ensuring our families have access to nutritious food, we are also creating opportunities for our local farmers. Through these additional resources, Foodlink will able to expand their ability to reach more families with local products.”
“Foodlink is thrilled to receive a Community Food Project award. Our CFP will allow us to expand our Curbside Market and Lexington Avenue Urban Farm; two key programs that provide fresh, affordable food in low-income communities. This CFP is critical to Foodlink’s achievement of our mission, as the growth of urban agriculture and mobile markets allows Foodlink to leverage the power of food to build a healthier community,” said Julia Tedesco, Executive Director at Foodlink, Inc.
Last year, Senator Gillibrand visited Foodlink headquarters to announce legislation that would help improve nutrition and enhance learning in underserved areas by better integrating summer education and meals programs, making it easier for public-private partner organizations to participate in the summer meals program, and by providing the option of a third meal for children who attend evening enrichment programs.
The USDA NIFA program aims to strengthen local food systems and support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, and nursery crops through research, agricultural extension activities, and initiatives to increase demand and address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry.