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Rochester picked to access COVID Fresh Food Fund

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

The Partnership for a Healthier America is expanding its COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund to Rochester in partnership with Foodlink. 

The Fresh Food Fund launched in Denver and has provided 650,000 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to communities economically impacted by COVID-19. 

Foodlink is offering boxes of produce labeled Fresh Picks at subsidized rates on its Curbside Market, a mobile farmers market for communities throughout Rochester and the Finger Lakes region with limited access to fresh produce. 

Local fruits and vegetables are packaged into Fresh Picks boxes for Foodlink’s Curbside Market.

Each box contains approximately 10 pounds of produce, as well as print and digital nutrition resources. Each site is staffed by ambassadors trained in helping customers learn how to use these tools and promoting access to the program. 

“One of the core goals of the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund is to showcase the unmet demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in disadvantaged communities, and to work with retailers to provide increased access to produce in those communities,” said Nancy Roman, president and CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America. “The COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, in conjunction with Foodlink's Curbside Market, fills a critical short-term need, but the learnings will help drive our long-term vision as well.”

The program runs until the end of December. Foodlink projects to sell more than 9,600 boxes by the end of the year. Visit foodlinkny.org for information. 

When the Curbside Market relaunched in July, Foodlink reduced its schedule to follow safety protocols. This program is helping former sites continue to access fresh produce until the market’s schedule can expand again.

Foodlink’s Curbside Market is a mobile farmers market serving communities throughout Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.

PHA and Foodlink partnered with American Fruit & Vegetable Co. to procure produce from local farmers, pack and deliver the boxes. Foodlink staff and volunteers manage the distribution of Fresh Picks boxes at Curbside Market sites. Site coordinators help advertise, organize and enroll customers. 

The goal is to provide two to three servings of produce per person each day, with a 60-to-40 ratio of vegetables to fruits.

“The communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 will require even more support and attention on the road to recovery,” said David Sandman, president and CEO of NYSHealth. “The Rochester Fresh Picks program responds to the immediate needs of food-insecure residents by linking them to fresh, affordable produce from local farms. This project will also seed healthy food habits in communities that can last well beyond the current crisis.” 

Partnership for a Healthier America is working with Foodlink to expand its COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund to Rochester.