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 www.fieldandforknetwork.com. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]