The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) has expanded its COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund to Rochester through a partnership with Foodlink Inc. The partnership represents an expansion of PHA’s COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, which first launched in Denver and has provided 650,000 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to communities economically impacted by COVID-19.
“Foodlink is honored to be selected as the second city nationally to provide access to the Partnership of a Healthier America’s COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund,” said Foodlink President and CEO Julia Tedesco. “The partnership was a natural fit for our Curbside Market, which has an already impressive track record of increasing access to healthy foods in underserved communities.”
Foodlink has made available boxes of fresh produce labeled Fresh Picks through the Fresh Food Fund 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. Each box contains roughly 10 pounds of fresh, high-quality produce, as well as high-impact print and digital nutrition resources.
Each Fresh Picks site will be staffed by ambassadors trained in helping customers to learn how to use these digital 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 COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund was created in partnership with the Produce Marketing Association and, in Rochester, is funded by a grant from the New York State Health Foundation, Wegmans Food Markets Inc. and individual donors throughout the country.
The program links fruits and vegetables, which may have otherwise have gone to waste, to communities experiencing barriers to accessing fresh produce, such as economic hardship during the COVID19 pandemic. Through the Fresh Picks boxes, families will receive printed cards featuring recipes from Oldways and digital resources from Foodsmart by Zipongo to help integrate fruits and vegetables into their diets and lives for the long term.
“As we look to build a Monroe County that is equitable for all, it is important to remember that some of our most vulnerable populations often live in areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said. “I am extremely pleased to see this collaboration between Foodlink and Partnership for a Healthier America in order to pursue food equity, especially during this unprecedented and uncertain time.”
The program started at the beginning of August and for each week until the end of December, customers at Curbside Market sites will be able to purchase Fresh Picks boxes at affordable prices. Foodlink projects to sell more than 9,600 boxes by the end of the year.