KeyBank in Partnership with the First Niagara Foundation and General Motors Provides Over $50,000 in Funding to Field & Fork Network

KeyBank in Partnership with the First Niagara Foundation and General Motors Provides Over $50,000 in Funding to Field & Fork Network

Investment funds ‘Food Pathways’, a professional development program for Niagara Falls High School students

NOVEMBER 21, 2022

Niagara Falls High School students will have an opportunity to enhance their education and receive professional development thanks to an investment from two foundations focused on strengthening Niagara County. Food Pathways, a program developed by Field & Fork Network, received a $32,375 grant from First Niagara Foundation and a $25,000 grant from General Motors. The funding will prepare 20 students to take on important careers that help improve and sustain our local food system.

“This innovative collaboration is connecting young people to the community in a unique way by providing career development opportunities while enhancing access to a fresh, affordable and sustainable food system,” said Elizabeth Gurney, Executive Director of the KeyBank and First Niagara Foundations. “Our investment in their future will help strengthen our regional economy and  create plans and pathways to help students reach their full potential.” Food Pathways was developed and piloted last year to address gaps that exist between the workforce and food system  employers in Niagara County. A partnership with Niagara Falls High School quickly formed, and a collaboration with the Niagara Global Tourism Institute helped create a comprehensive curriculum to engage seniors in exploring new career paths and learning tangible professional skills from leading professionals to better prepare them for the futures.

“We are thankful for the continued support from GM, who also funded the pilot, and to First Niagara Foundation for stepping up to fill the gap, enabling us to continue this program,” said Tom Lowe, Project Director at Field & Fork Network. “This is a unique opportunity for many of these students, and one that has the power to transform their lives; I feel lucky I get to be a part of it.”

“For the second year NFHS students will benefit from this partnership, it’s a chance to learn in a practical setting about new career paths and life skills that will stay with them as they transition to college or a career,” said NFHS Superintendent Mark Laurie.

Food Pathways will launch in January 2023, offering 20 Niagara Falls High School seniors a $500 stipend to participate in the 14-week program that explores career paths in the food system. The curriculum combines in-class professional development activities such as personal branding, social intelligence, team building, with food system experiences both in the classroom and out in the field at local businesses within the food system.

Field & Fork Network is a NYS nonprofit organization that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system. Whether we’re connecting farmers to new economic opportunities or connecting consumers to affordable fresh food, our work is designed to link communities together to make them stronger. To learn more about our work please visit our website and social media sites at: | Facebook  Instagram  Twitter

KeyBank’s roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $190.1 billion at September 30, 2022. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications, and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC.

Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation will carry out the philanthropic legacy of First Niagara Bank, which was acquired by KeyBank in 2016. The Foundation, in partnership with KeyBank, supports not for profit organizations dedicated to empowering individuals and neighborhoods primarily in Western New York. For more information, visit

General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at

Now Hiring! AmeriCorps VISTA Local Food Action Plan Outreach Coordinator – Niagara Falls

This is an AmeriCorps VISTA position. Information about this program can be found here:  

Are you passionate about local food and improving food access for your friends and neighbors? Do you love farmers markets and creating safe, judgement free zones for folks to experience the joys of seasonal fruits and vegetables? Are you looking to get into a career in food systems or non-profits? 

If you said yes to any or all of those questions, then apply to become a Local Food Action Plan Outreach VISTA member! 

The Local Food Action Plan VISTA member will: 

  • Engage stakeholders to inform action items and priorities
  • Develop and implement advocacy agenda items
  • Assist with the development and implementation of projects and programs that positively impact the local food system
  • Create economic opportunities for farmers and local food producers

In 2018, Field & Fork Network staff led the development of the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan (NFLFAP) which was approved by the Niagara Falls City Council in December 2018 as the official food plan for the City of Niagara Falls. The Plan provides a framework of actions to be undertaken to improve the local food system and increase food access amongst Niagara Falls residents.  

Embedded within Field & Fork Network and supervised by the Project Director for the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan, the VISTA member will assist the Project Director and key partners in the planning, coordination, and execution of community outreach events and activities to gather information from key stakeholders to inform the work that is guided by the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan.  

About Field & Fork Network: 

Field & Fork Network is a New York State food and farming non-profit organization that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system. Our work focuses on four important areas: agriculture economic development, food access, youth development and healthy neighborhoods. 

About AmeriCorps VISTA 

Since 1965, over 220,000 AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program have joined the fight against poverty by helping local organizations expand their capacity to make change. The VISTA program serves in each of the 50 U.S. states and in all U.S. territories. 

Through capacity building activities such as fundraising, grant writing, research, and volunteer recruitment, AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program serve in an office setting and gain experience and leadership skills. This opportunity prepares members for a life of service in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. 

Minimum Position Requirements: 

  • Be 18 years or older (no upper age limit) 
  • Hold one of the following citizenship or legal residency statuses: US citizen, US National, Lawful Permanent Resident (i.e. Green Card status), and persons legally residing within a state. Examples of persons legally residing within a state may include those holding the following classifications: refugee, asylee, temporary protected status throughout VISTA service, and holding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. 
  • Valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle required. 


  • A passion for increasing healthy food access for low-income community members.
  • Strong skills in communicating, building relationships, and working with community members from diverse backgrounds, including immigrants and refugees, people of color, and low-income communities.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong public speaking skills or willingness to speak to large audiences (e.g. 15 or more persons).
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to synthesize information from multiple sources into concise, easy to understand formats.
  • An understanding of the stakeholders and considerations involved in sustainable food systems policy and planning.  


  • Childcare assistance if eligible 
  • $6,345 education award upon successful completion of service for either future education expenses or for payment of student loans OR a cash award of $1,800 upon successful completion of service
  • Health coverage
  • Living allowance 
  • Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs)
  • 10 sick days and 10 vacation days 
  • Relocation allowance (if applicable)
  • Student loan forbearance and full payment of any interest accumulated during service upon successful completion of service
  • Training
  • Professional Development Opportunities 
  • Phone stipend
  • Food assistance
  • Additional benefits to be determined 

To Apply: 

Please send a resume and a brief description of your interest in the position to [email protected] 

Applicants should indicate “Local Food Action Plan VISTA” in the subject line of the email. 

Applications will be reviewed daily and the position will be filled based on AmeriCorps VISTA Member Orientation Dates. No phone calls please. 

Field & Fork Network Receives USDA Grant to Revitalize the Niagara Falls City Market

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Field & Fork Network Receives $245,476 USDA Grant to Revitalize the Niagara Falls City Market 

NOVEMBER 4, 2022

NIAGARA FALLS, NY – Field & Fork Network, a statewide food and farming nonprofit was awarded over $245,000 to revitalize the Niagara Falls City Market. Field & Fork Network took over farmers market management this season with the goal of creating an accessible and equitable market; where food, culture and community can be celebrated. 

The USDA grant will provide the necessary funding to strengthen operations, make capital improvements, recruit new vendors, support community events, and engage the community. The grant is a part of the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program, which awarded over $13 million to 55 organizations across the country, Field & Fork Network was one of only five in New York that was selected.   

“Access to fresh, nutritious, locally-grown food shouldn’t be a luxury. The Niagara Falls City Market has been a fixture in the community for over 100 years and community groups are working diligently to reimagine the marketspace so it can improve the local food system and meet the needs of Western New Yorkers,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow Field & Fork Network to engage the Niagara Falls community, increase traffic at the market, enhance opportunities for new local vendors, and improve access to affordable and healthy food. This is another investment that will contribute to a healthier and stronger future for the Western New York community.”  

The Niagara Falls City Market has been in existence since the horse-and-buggy days of the late 1800s. What once was a vibrant market full of diverse vendors has struggled in recent years. In 2018, residents, and other important partners developed the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan to improve the local food system; the number one priority of the Plan was revitalizing the City Market.  

“After years of ineffective efforts to improve the City Market, our Administration took the necessary steps to bring in Field & Fork Network to enhance the farmer and vendor potential at the market and coupled with new facility management by Militello Property Group, we believe the future is bright for our market. Securing this grant will provide additional resources that Field & Fork Network can use to attract and develop more vendors and improve promotion of the market. We appreciate the efforts of the Field & Fork Network and look forward to our ongoing partnership.”   

Since taking over the market this year, Field & Fork Network has laid the groundwork to improve community access to local fresh produce by implementing programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps) and Double Up Food Bucks, a nutrition incentive program that offers low-income individuals’ money to purchase local fresh produce. Additionally, they have strengthened market opportunities for the vendors through special events and marketing support.  

“It has been a long road but we are excited to be at the point we are now with the farmers market; building back this important community asset as a place to buy fresh and affordable produce and other locally-produced products,” said Tom Lowe, Project Director for the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan who is also responsible for managing the Niagara Falls City Market. “We look forward to the markets continued growth to better support the community it serves and the farmers and vendors who have devoted years of their business to this farmers market.” 

“The Niagara Falls City Market is a cornerstone of the community and an important source of fresh, affordable, and local produce,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I congratulate the Field & Fork Network on receiving this well-deserved award and look forward to seeing the new and improved market in operation.”    

Field & Fork Network intends to work with current vendors, City Officials, residents and other stakeholders to develop a vision for the market that is part of the City’s overall development for the Pine Avenue area. Anyone interested in learning more about this work or to engage in the larger work of the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan can learn more by visiting[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Buffalo Bill’s ‘Huddle for Hunger’ Initiative Supports Field & Fork Network

Bills Huddle for Hunger Supports Food Access

Field & Fork Network is thrilled to be working with the Buffalo Bills Foundation as a beneficiary of their 50/50 Raffle! The Huddle for Hunger initiative is a campaign to help those in our community who struggle with food insecurity.

This is a rare opportunity for us to work alongside the Buffalo Bills to raise more money for Double Up Food Bucks and other food access programs. Not only are you supporting a good cause but you can win half of the jackpot!

The Buffalo Bills Foundation 50/50 raffle is open for online sales, and each ticket purchased will help increase the jackpot until it closes during the Huddle for Hunger game on Sunday, October 30th. Half of the jackpot will go to the winner, while the other half will be dispersed throughout 18 hunger fighting organizations

Please visit our Fanthem Page to get your tickets. We are so appreciate of your support!

Enter to Win


Artisan Day event brings signs of hope to Niagara Falls City Market

Niagara Falls City Market

Original Publisher: Niagara Gazette

Reporter: Mark Sheer

Artisan Day event brings signs of hope to Niagara Falls City Market

The SnobKnockers played outdoors at the Niagara Falls City Market on Friday.

Next door to them, in a trailer that serves as Lend a Leaf’s business on wheels, Jessica Nyland served specialty coffees and teas.

Nyland was part of a larger group of vendors — mostly made up of local farmers — who were selling apples and empanadas and chicken soup and all manner of food and homemade items along the brick-paved area beneath the awning where City Market sellers have been selling fresh produce and more to customers for years.

Friday’s festivities were part of an Artisan Market, a special event designed to breath more life into what has been a staple off Pine Avenue near 18th Street for, by most estimates at least 100 years, or at least more years than most people who still frequent the market can remember.

Sheri Senek’s family business, Senek Farms, which has been in business in Ransomville for a century now, has been a presence at the Falls market for decades. The Senek family truck makes an appearance each week, all year long.

To Senek, hearing the SnobKnockers play while watching more customers engage with a wider variety of vendors represented two things she’s wanted most for the market for many years: Signs of progress and hope.

“This is amazing,” said Senek, whose father-in-law, Senek Farms founder John Senek started the family tradition of selling produce at the Falls market decades ago. “This is what we’re hoping for. We’ve got new vendors that we’re hoping will continue to come.”

“This is what we do,” she added. “We’re farmers. We’ve always come here. We brought our produce to the city. This market has always been an important part of this community.”

Up until this year, the city market was managed, under a deal struck with Niagara Falls city government in 1999, by Lewiston businessman Al Muto. In May, city lawmakers, at the urging of Mayor Robert Restaino’s administration, agreed to buy Muto out of his market lease, which ran through July 2032, with an additional 44-year option that could have been extended to 2076.

City officials agreed to spend $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to terminate the city’s lease with Muto Development and reacquire control of the market and six adjacent properties. They are now working with various partners in hopes of reimagining the space for vendors, tenants and local residents.

One main partner is the Field and Fork Network, Inc., a non-profit organization that works with communities in an effort to promote more sustainable food systems. The Falls City Council agreed in August to enter into a management agreement for the market with the organization. That same month, the Network announced that it had reached an agreement to allow city market vendors to accept Supplemental Nutrition Program, or SNAP benefits, more commonly known as food stamps.

Senek said it has been a big boost for farmers who frequent the market and for Falls residents who need access to fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables.

“It’s been a big benefit,” she said.

Tony Poletti, owner of the Marketside restaurant at the City Market and president of the Pine Avenue Redevelopment Project, Inc., a local group dedicated to reimagining the Pine Avenue commercial strip, said he’s hopeful better days are ahead for the market, mainly because it feels to him like the right organizations and people are now coming together to make it better.

“There’s a lot of good people that are focused on the right things so I have a positive outlook for the future of Pine Avenue and the city market,” said Poletti, who served chicken soup to customers during Friday’s event.

Nyland, a DeVeaux resident who started her coffee-and-tea-on-the-go business a year and a half ago, said she heard from a lot of market “regulars” who were excited to see more activity than they have seen in recent years. She said she’s looking forward to coming back in the future.

“It’s so nice to see people interacting with one another,” she said.

The SnobKnockers — a trio that includes local bed and breakfast owner Shelia Zuni, Michael Sheffield and George Kobas — entertained the market crowd throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

Zuni said the band would return to the market if invited and she hopes other local bands will begin to view the space as a place where they can — like the farmers and the vendors — engage with the community.

“There’s so much potential here,” she said.

Anne Marie DeRusso agrees.

The new director for the City Market helped organize Friday’s Artisan Day. While it is the final special event planned for 2022, DeRusso said Field and Fork Network and other partners intend to spend the winter months planning more events and, hopefully, more market improvements next year. She said part of the effort will involve exploring and promoting more of the market’s rich history.

“Mainly, it’s bringing business into the city, but it’s also getting good local produce into people’s hands,” she said.

How can people in and around Niagara Falls support the market moving forward?

DeRusso said, simply: Show up, not just on special event days but as frequently as possible.

“If we want the market to be successful, then we need people to come out,” she said.

Field & Fork Network Awarded ‘Organization of the Year’ by Leadership Niagara

Field and Fork Network Awarded Organization of the Year

Leadership Niagara, the longest running leadership development organization in New York State, has selected Field & Fork Network as their 2022 Organization of the Year. The annual award recognizes an organization whose work positively impacts on the quality of life in Niagara County and strengthens our communities. This year Field & Fork Network was selected by a diverse group of leaders, across sectors, as the winner. The organization was selected because our work exemplifies Leadership Niagara’s mission and core values of excellence, visionary leadership, lifelong learning, regional partnerships, diversity and inclusion and societal responsibility.

Double Up Food Bucks Awareness Week

Buffalo Bills Foundation teams up with Double Up Food Bucks to help families get more fresh produce—and a chance to win tickets to the Green Bay Packers Game

Double Up Awareness Week encourages EBT users in WNY to eat healthier


Buffalo, NY–The Buffalo Bills Foundation is teaming up with Field & Fork Network to bring more fresh produce to Buffalo SNAP/EBT users—and a chance to win tickets to the Bills October 30th game against the Green Bay Packers. Double Up Food Bucks is a free healthy food incentive program that offers anyone with SNAP a $1 for $1 match on all eligible purchases, up to $20 per day, to purchase fresh local produce.

Double Up Food Bucks Awareness Week aims to increase participation in the program and link families with additional resources to access fresh local produce. The week is sponsored by the Buffalo Bills Foundation and will take place at over 25 locations across Erie & Niagara Counties from September 27th-October 4th. Participating locations will offer free $10 produce vouchers, ticket raffle, Bills giveaways and appearances by Billy Buffalo.

Here’s how it works: Anyone who signs up for the Double Up Food Bucks program from September 27th– October 4, 2022 will get a $10 produce voucher to spend at that market. In addition, individuals who use the program during the week will be entered to win tickets donated by the Buffalo Bills Foundation.

  • Two grand prize winners will receive (2) Buffalo Bills tickets and parking pass to the October 30, 2022 game against the Green Bay Packers. Winners will be announced on October 10th.

“The Bills are team players in every sense,” said Lisa French, co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network. “Their commitment to WNY families shows how much they care about our community—both on and off the field.”

“Partnering with organizations that improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a key to the foundations said Buffalo Bills Foundation Executive Director Michelle Roberts. “Field & Fork Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program is a great incentive that helps educate and increase healthy food options for SNAP-eligible WNY residents.”

The partnership is part of the Bills Foundation “Huddle for Hunger” initiative, which supports organizations focused on addressing child hunger, increasing access to nutritious food for families, and supporting healthy eating in the Western New York region. In addition to Double Up Food Bucks Awareness Week, the Foundation has provided a $25,000 grant to the Field & Fork Network.

Learn More About Double Up Awareness Week: click here

Chatham Co-op Launches Double Up Food Bucks

Chatham Co-op Launches Double Up Food Bucks

SNAP Incentive program increases healthy food access for low-income families, supports local farmers

Chatham Co-op announces the launch of Double Up Food Bucks New York (Double Up), a program administered by Field & Fork Network, doubling the buying power of SNAP customers. The program matches $1 for $1 federal SNAP dollars, up to $20 per day, to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on New York-grown produce.  

“Here at the Chatham Co-op we are actively striving to fulfill our mission as a Co-operative. One of the 7 Guiding Principles of Co-operatives is Concern for Community: Co-operatives working for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members. The DUFB Incentive is great for the community as it benefits the customer, the farmer and the local economy. Local, fresh produce should be affordable and available to all,and we believe this incentive is a step in the right direction for our community. Hopefully, it will be a first step, with many more to follow that will benefit the farmer, customer & community. After all, what is more important than real, nutritious food for all?” 

Double Up is a win-win-win, it helps low-income families stretch their food budgets, local farmers sell more produce, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a positive ripple effect of benefits,” said Lisa French, co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network, which administers the Double Up program in New York State. “By incentivizing the purchasing and consuming of healthier foods, we also aim to improve the overall health and well-being of those we serve.” 

Since piloting at 7 Western New York farmers markets in 2014, Double Up has expanded into over 30 counties and 180 locations across the state, serving over 38,000 SNAP households. The program is funded by New York State, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and over 30 philanthropic organizations across the state. Locally, we would like to recognize the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, who continues to be a key partner in helping us bring the program to life in Columbia County.   

Chatham Co-op is open to the public Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm. Additional Double Up sites in the Columbia County include Rolling Grocer 19, Copake Hillsdale Farmer’s Market, and Saugerties Farmers Market. For a complete list of participating Double Up sites and hours of operation, visit 

About Chatham Co-op 

 The Chatham Real Food Market is an outlet for the products of our Columbia County farms and kitchens, providing education about food and agriculture, and promoting a more localized food system. The store is co-operatively owned by the members of our community. It aims to strengthen our rural community, develop our food security, and help build a healthy local economy in our county.  

 About Double Up Food Bucks NY 

Double Up Food Bucks is a nationwide fruit and vegetable incentive program, servicing millions of low-income SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) users with a dollar-for-dollar match to increase affordability and access to fresh healthy foods at farmers markets, CSAs, farm stands, mobile markets, and grocery stores. In New York State, Double Up has contributed to 4.8 million pounds of healthy food sales to over 38,000 customers, at more than 180 sites spanning 30 counties. 

About Field & Fork Network 

Field & Fork Networkis a NYS nonprofit organization that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system. 

Field and Fork Network, Inc. Receives Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award

Field and Fork Network, Inc. Receives Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award

August 24, 2022 

UTICA, N.Y. — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently awarded Field and Fork Network, Inc. a Community Health Award of $2,000 to support their Double Up Food Bucks program serving Essex County. This program is Field and Fork Network’s signature food access program.  It is a nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) benefits dollar for dollar, up to twenty dollars per day.  The Double Up incentive can only be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.


“Double Up is a win-win-win, low-income families bring home more healthy food, local farmers sell more produce, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a positive ripple effect of benefits,” said Lisa French, co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network, which administers the Double Up program in New York State. “By incentivizing the purchasing and consuming of healthier foods, we aim to improve the overall health and well-being of those we serve.”


Field & Fork Network is a non-profit organization that connects communities across New York State to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system. Key focus areas are agriculture, economic development, youth & community development, healthy neighborhoods and food access. Double Up Food Bucks allows families to stretch their dollar further while improving their overall health. The program’s innovative model allows it to operate in a variety of locations including corner stores, bodegas, ethnic food markets, mobile markets, farm stands and more.


Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards provide funding to launch, expand, and sustain programs and services that promote health. These investments advance health equity by extending the reach of preventive health services or health-promoting programs to vulnerable populations.


The health plan’s corporate giving follows all applicable laws and regulations and does not support funding organizations that conflict with its corporate mission, goals, policies, or products.


“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” states Eve Van de Wal, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Utica regional president. “We recognize that addressing social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, is vital to the health and wellbeing of our communities and we are pleased to support Field and Fork Network with this essential community health funding.”



Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Utica region encompasses Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and St. Lawrence counties.

# # #


Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit

Double Up Food Bucks now accepted at Niagara Falls city market

Niagara Falls City Market vendors will now be accepting Double Up Food Bucks benefits to further provide those on SNAP benefits access to healthy foods.

The Field and Fork Network was on hand to make the announcement Friday morning along with Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino, New York State Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, and members of the Buffalo Bills organization including cornerback Siran Neal.

Double Up Food Bucks is a nutrition incentive program funded by the state, the United States Department of Agriculture’s neutron institute on food and agriculture, and private foundations. The program offers individuals and families with SNAP benefits a $1 for $1 match for all their purchases at the market, up to $20 per day.

The Buffalo Bills Foundation also gave the program a $25,000 grant to support it, which they also gave last year.

Tom Lowe, the project director for the Field & Fork network, said that improving the market was the number one priority of the Niagara Falls Food Action Plan that the city council passed in 2018, with the acceptance of SNAP benefits and Double Up Food Bucks a key step to improve it.

The market was authorized to accept SNAP benefits starting September of last year, with Lowe adding that 1 in 3 Niagara Falls residents receive those benefits.

“In the two months SNAP was accepted in the 2021 season, more than $4,000 in SNAP transactions were processed,” Lowe said. “That’s more than $4,000 residents no longer had to take out of their cash budgets, that can be used for transportation, rent, child care, and other expenses.”

Morinello said that all the groups that worked to make this possible work to teach area youth about the importance of fresh food and sees a bright future for the market.

“It benefits citizens, farmers, and as we move forward, it will show children how important it is,” Morinello said.

Mayor Restaino said that earlier this summer, the city concluded its acquisition of the city market and plans on working with its partners of growing the city market.

“We feel not only will this be, as described, a centerpoint for fresh fruit and fresh vegetables,” Restaino said. “We also think this should be an area where we are able to market and showcase the many products that Niagara County has to offer.”

Vendors at the market were already accepting the Double Up benefits as it got busy on Friday. Sheri Senek, of Senek Farms in Ransomville, said that Senek Farms has been setting up at the market for over 80 years, back when it would come by horse and buggy.

“The purpose is to bring fresh fruit to the city, so customers can come and use their SNAP benefits,” Senek said. “We’re trying to grow the market, bring in new vendors, and increase customers.”

“Anything will help,” said Jim Miller, of Miller’s Farm in Hamburg, who has been selling at this market since 1982, setting up on Friday’s for the last five years.

Friday was also Kid’s Day at the market, where kids from the Niagara Falls Boys and Girls club got to explore what the market had to offer and get a photo with Neal and Billy Buffalo.

The Double Up Food Bucks program is already accepted at the North Tonawanda City Market, the Lockport Community Market, the Cornell Community Extension Veggie Van, and several markets in Downtown Buffalo. More program information is available at

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