SPRING/SUMMER 2018 NEWSLETTER
SOWING SEEDS OF CHANGE
A farm-to-school project. An educational and training garden. New community partnerships.
These are some of the local projects Foodlink will support through the inaugural Seed Grant program, made possible through the state Department of Health’s Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP). Foodlink received 30 applications and awarded funding to six local projects, ranging between $10,000 and $30,000.
2018 FOODLINK SEED GRANT RECIPIENTS Barakah Muslim Charity, $16,500 Greece Central School District, $15,145 St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church, $24,500 Taproot Collective, $18,769 Victor Farmington Food Cupboard, $10,000 Wyoming County Community Action, Inc. & The Warsaw Food Pantry, $30,000
“The Seed Grant program really encouraged local agencies to think outside the box and expand services, or innovate new solutions to addressing food insecurity and improving health outcomes in our region,” said Chief Programs Officer Mitch Gruber. Winners of the inaugural Seed Grant opportunity include: Wyoming County Community Action, Inc. & The Warsaw Food Pantry will conduct countywide Family Development Credential trainings, create a school garden and develop farm-to-school practices in the cafeteria and classroom. Barakah Muslim Charity will operate a
new community kitchen to address foodinsecure individuals in the 14611 zip code of Rochester. The Victor Farmington Food Cupboard will digitize its record-keeping and strengthen community partnerships with the Victor Free Library and Victor’s Farmer’s Market. St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church will expand the hours of its food shelf, create a new training garden for area youth, and facilitate the development of 16 other urban gardens in Rochester.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY ST. MARK’S AND ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
See SEED GRANTS, page 4
Expanding our mobile footprint This summer, two Foodlink programs will hit the road to serve more of our neighbors in highneed communities. Our Curbside Market and Summer Meals programs are both expanding into uncharted territories to ensure more local residents have access to healthy food.
Fresh. Affordable. (Even more) Convenient? Foodlink’s Curbside Market, a mobile farmers market that sells affordable produce in underserved communities, will soon expand to include more evening and weekend hours. Grant funding from Sands Foundation NextGen will allow Foodlink to hire additional staff to accommodate Curbside’s expanded schedule.Since its inception in 2013, the market has traveled to neighborhoods inside and outside of Rochester that lack sufficient access to fruits and vegetables. It visits sites such as federally qualified health centers, low-income housing facilities and senior centers, and has developed a loyal customer base and steady growth as it approaches its 5-year anniversary. In 2017, the market made more than $216,000 in sales, and recorded more than 32,000 customer visits – both of which doubled the program’s performance from two years ago. It now operates regularly in 6 of the 10 counties in Foodlink’s service area.
Foodlink remains a key player in the City of
Rochester’s Summer Meals program, serving as a vendor and sponsor to a program that provides more than 6,000 free meals daily at more than 100 sites across Rochester. The need for these meals is significant in Rochester, where more than 85% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. In July and August, parents face the financial burden of providing two extra meals, per child, per day. Parents in rural communities, too, face this annual dilemma when the school year ends. Because of this, Foodlink is expanding its Summer Meals program outside of Rochester and into Wayne County, where we will pilot additional sites. Grant funding from the United Way of Wayne County, the Enterprise Rent-ACar Foundation (via Feeding America), the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and the Joy in Childhood Foundation, has enabled Foodlink to purchase a new vehicle and expand its schedule in July and August. Foodlink will serve Wayne County through its Summer Meals on Wheels initiative, which is in its second full year after a pilot year in 2016. To accommodate high-need communities without a nearby, permanent Summer Meals site, Foodlink seeks out locations, such as libraries,
parks and playgrounds, and delivers free meals directly from its Summer Meals vehicle. Building healthier communities requires a willingness to innovate. During this critical time of year, Foodlink and its community partners are committed to ensuring that our youngest residents always have access to a healthy meal.
New program uses education and gardening to empower kids to make healthy choices
Through Foodlink’s Edible Education program, our nutrition educators are teaching kids about where their food comes from, and empowering them with skills to make healthy choices.
The sound of excited students—their eager voices echoing down the hallway—spills into the classroom before they do. When they arrive, their first question is predictable. “What are we making today???” The contagious enthusiasm rubs off on Foodlink’s educators, who are taking part in the pilot year of an Edible Education program with Rochester’s Education Success Network. “The goal of our programming has always been to create a fun, educational space to inspire critical thinking and creativity and we feel lucky to have this time to connect students with the earth, the importance of nutrition and the life skills of cooking,” said Lora Downie, Foodlink’s Nutrition Education Coordinator. Downie and Nathaniel Mich, Foodlink’s Edible Education and Urban Farming Specialist, spearhead this effort at three local schools: Discovery Charter School, Success Learning Campus and The Norman Howard School. The
curriculum combines nutrition education and gardening, and also serves as a one-stop shop to connect schools with other Foodlink resources, such as the BackPack Program, Community Kitchen meals or the Curbside Market. “Foodlink offers plenty of programs that address childhood hunger and nutrition, so it just made sense to streamline schools’ access to all of these resources,” said Mich, who oversees Foodlink’s Lexington Avenue Urban Farm, which acts as another valuable resource for not only the neighborhood it serves, but for the Edible Education program. “It’s both satisfying and vital to teach young kids about where their food comes from, and the benefits of proper nutrition,” Mich said. “Building healthier communities starts with our youngest residents, and this program has really given us a chance to empower them with the skills they need to make healthy choices for themselves and their families.”
URBAN AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE 2018 The Urban Agriculture Working Group, with support from Foodlink and the City of Rochester, presented the 3nd annual Urban Agriculture Conference on May 12. The conference involved a packed slate of hands-on workshops; demonstrations; tours; a seed swap; a panel discussion on the intersections of food, race, and justice; and plenty of conversations for Rochester’s urban agriculture community.
The team behind the Foodlink Career Fellowship, from left, Clayton Waller, Career Coach; Laura Sugarwala, Director of Nutrition and Food Safety; Jes Scannell Rooks, Director, Career Empowerment Initiatives; and Foodlink’s new Executive Chef, Casey Holenbeck.
Foodlink Career Fellowship pilot set to launch A living-wage job has long been FCF graduates. Foodlink also worked considered the most reliable pathway closely with the Rochester Monroe out of poverty. Anti-Poverty Initiative to ensure the Foodlink, which has always emphacurriculum aligns with their poverty-resized the need to address root causes duction strategies. of hunger, has been engaged with Foodlink will welcome the first 10 workforce development initiatives for Fellows on July 9. The first three months decades. This summer, however, a new will be dedicated to learning basic food chapter begins. safety and preparation skills, while they “The launch of explore potential career paths in the the Foodlink Career food industry. Fellowship will be In the months that follow, they will a historic moment choose an area of focus, obtain higher for our organization,” said levels of certification, and Executive Director Julia Tedesco. complete a paid internship with“We celebrated the construction in Foodlink’s Community of our beautiful Community Kitchen. The final three Kitchen a year ago, and this months will be spent off site year, we’re thrilled to maximize at a paid externship. After 12 this investment by training a skilled months, Fellows will graduate workforce for the into careers that regional food offer a living industry. wage and The mission opportunities Foodlin k Career Fellowship of the FCF is to for advancement. train individuals with “The program is barriers to employment for middle-skills designed to provide opportunities for careers in the regional food industry. people who have struggled to achieve Major supporters for the pilot year career sustainability and growth,” said of this initiative include the William G. Jes Scannell Rooks, Foodlink’s Director McGowan Charitable Fund, the of Career Empowerment Initiatives. William and Sheila Konar Foundation, “Fellows spend a year investing in and the ESL Caritable Foundation. themselves, addressing past barriers, Foodlink has also leaned on the earning certifications and gaining handsexpertise of our partners at Wegmans on experience. Graduates will be better Food Markets to assist in the able to support themselves and their development an intensive, yearlong families. Together, with regional food curriculum, and is engaged with local employers, we will shorten the line of employers who are committed to hiring those who may need Foodlink’s services.”
Top: Attendees learn about vermiculture, and get some one-on-one time with worms. Bottom left: Raising ducks (like this one!) and chickens in an urban area is easier than you think. Bottom right: Many attendees made and took home custom rain barrels.
F.E.A.S.T. IN THE HEART OF THE FINGER LAKES
On April 24, we held the inaugural F.E.A.S.T. (Feeding Everyone Around Shared Tables) in the Heart of the Finger Lakes tasting event at The Cracker Factory in Geneva. Chef Samantha Buyskes of Three Brothers Wineries and H.J. Stead Company was kind enough to organize the event, with proceeds benefiting the work we do at Foodlink.
Chef Samantha Buyskes.
1999 Mt. Read Blvd. Rochester, NY 14615 585-328-3380 foodlinkny.org
SAVE THE DATE Monday, September 17th!
Festival of Food returns for the 15th time to the City of Rochester Public Market. More than 100 of the best food and drink vendors in the area converge for this tasting event. All proceeds benefit Foodlink.
to Fruits and Vegetables One of Foodlink’s nutrition education programs, Just Say Yes To Fruits and Vegetables, holds a series of demonstrations every Thursday and Saturday at the City of Rochester Public Market throughout the summer and fall. Join us to pick up helpful shopping tips, nutritional information and recipe samples and help us build a healthier community!
A YEAR OF MILESTONES
Major anniversaries across the organization make 2018 a landmark year for Foodlink.
Foodlink founder and visionary, Tom Ferraro, picked up a school bus full of donated Thomas’ English Muffins. And Foodlink was born!
We began one of the first Kids Cafe programs in the nation, providing free meals to low-income children after school.
We held our first Festival of Food, which has since become our largest annual fundraiser, showcasing the best in local food and drink.
Our first Curbside Market vehicle hit the streets, bringing fresh, affordable produce to food deserts in Rochester. Today our three trucks run throughout our service area.
SEED GRANTS, from page 1 The Greece Central School District will better connect families in need with their new network of food pantries within the district, and other resources from partner organizations such as the Greece Community Learning Center and Greece Family Support Center. Taproot Collective will establish the infrastructure for a community food production and education space and help increase the amount of healthy, locally grown food distributed through the emergency food system. “St. Mark’s and St. John’s is excited to be awarded a Seed Grant from Foodlink to expand our E.D.E.N. urban gardens, which provide healthy food, education and neighborhood gathering places that
promote healing in the Beechwood and Emma neighborhoods,” said The Rev. Cindy Rasmussen. Foodlink celebrated the grantees at a press event May 8 at the future home of Taproot Collective’s education space across the street from the City of Rochester Public Market. All of the projects will be set in motion this spring and summer, with results and outcomes expected in the fall. “It gives us great pride and satisfaction to recognize our partners who work tirelessly on the front lines of food insecurity in this region,” said Executive Director Julia Tedesco. “Our food banking operations are evolving, and these projects represent the innovation required to eradicate hunger in our communities.”