The Niagara Falls City Market Unveils Exciting Season with New Vendors, Special Events, Extended Hours, Enhanced Safety Measures, and Abundant Local Produce

The Niagara Falls City Market is thrilled to announce the upcoming season, set to be its most vibrant and eventful yet. With an array of new vendors, engaging special events, extended operating hours, heightened safety protocols, and an abundance of locally sourced produce, the market aims to provide an experience for visitors and residents alike.

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Fighting hunger, high prices amid SNAP benefit decrease

Fighting hunger, high prices amid SNAP benefit decrease

Inflation has been hitting wallets hard, especially when it comes to food. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Americans are spending nearly 12 percent more on food each month than they were a year ago. According to federal labor data, grocery inflation picked up in January even as prices in the U.S. fell in other industries from the previous month. 

For the 2.8 million New Yorkers who rely on federal assistance, things are about to go from bad to worse. Starting in March, every household that receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits will begin to receive at least $95 less a month. Household size and income may result in an even larger decrease with some families receiving nearly $300 less per month. 

The change comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s temporary SNAP Emergency Allotment benefits — provided since early on during the pandemic to address food insecurity — expire at the end of the February.  In just a few days, eligible households will only receive regular monthly SNAP benefits. 

“That is a pretty serious hit to the family budget,” said Molly Nicol, CEO, Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, who anticipates a dramatic increase in the number of neighbors seeking food assistance as the emergency allotments end. 

Roughy 1.8 million New Yorkers are facing hunger — an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity, as defined by the USDA. Nearly 600,000 are children, according to Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million Americans.

During the pandemic, the Regional Food Bank saw a large increase in those seeking help. It went from distributing 38 million pounds of food per year pre-COVID to 55.8 million pounds of food at the height of the pandemic. The food bank is now at about 50 million pounds per year.

“This means that hard working folks are finding it difficult to feed their families” Nicol said. “Additionally, it means that the Food Bank is also experiencing increased expenses associated with meeting the needs in our 23-county region.”

Food bank CEOs from the Northeast are meeting with USDA representatives in early March to advocate for more food donations and funding for Universal School Meals across the state. They are hoping to convince the federal government to increase SNAP benefits to what they were at the height of the pandemic, Nicol said. 

“The end of SNAP Emergency Allotments will hasten a hunger cliff for many New Yorkers,” said Krista Hesdorfer, MPA, government relations manager for Hunger Solutions New York, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to alleviating hunger in New York. 

This is a federal change, and local social services districts do not have control over it, Hesdorfer said. However, those who do receive SNAP benefits can report any changes — loss of income, increased housing costs, child support payments or allowable medical expenses —  to their local department of social services, which could result in an increase in normal monthly SNAP benefits, she said.

There are also programs available that enhance SNAP benefits, especially when used at farmers markets. Double Up Food Bucks NY, a program of the Field & Fork Network, has become a model for communities across the country. 

The Field & Fork Double Up Food Bucks NY program aims to connect communities throughout the state with sustainable food options by matching EBT or food stamp dollars spent on fruits and vegetables, up to $20 per day. The program provides a $1 to $1 match on SNAP eligible fruit and vegetable purchases at farmers markets, farm stands and select grocers throughout the state, including Honest Weight Food Co-op,  Schenectady Green Market, Can Stop Redemption in Troy, Capital Roots Mobile Markets and West Hill Farmers Market.

“When you couple (the expiration of extended benefits) with the current economic conditions, many low-income families will struggle to fill that gap. Double Up can be a part of the solution and help fill the gap with healthy locally grown produce,” said Lisa French, co-founder and executive director at Field & Fork Network. “Doubling the current $2 million funding to $4 million means the program can provide a critical resource for these families.”

To date, more than $8 million SNAP Double Up dollars have been spent on fresh produce to help alleviate food insecurity. The benefits extend beyond consumers. Purchases support more than 400 farmers who participate in the program. And, roughly $2.8 million SNAP and Double Up dollars have been spent at stores throughout the state.  

In addition to Double Up Food Bucks, there are programs that help New Yorkers put fresh food on the table. Low income seniors and those receiving WIC benefits may be eligible to receive New York State Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs coupons that can be used at participating farmers markets and farm stands. SNAP-to-Market is another program that distributes FreshConnect Checks in addition to the SNAP benefit. For every $5 in SNAP benefits a customer exchanges for wooden tokens, the manager may issue a $2 FreshConnect Check to be used on any SNAP eligible food item.

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 ExcellusBCBS.com.

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 https://doubleupnys.com.

Link to original article: Double Up Food Bucks now accepted at Niagara Falls city market | Local News | niagara-gazette.com

Field & Fork expands access to fresh produce on Buffalo’s East Side

This year’s harvest of fresh, local fruit and vegetables just grew more plentiful for residents of Buffalo’s East Side food desert who qualify for SNAP purchases.

Thanks in part to new state funding from Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Double Up Food Bucks NY program removed the $20 per day cap on its dollar-for-dollar match of SNAP-purchased produce at five East Side vendors through the end of the year.

The unlimited match aims to increase affordable access to fresh, healthy food in the area targeted by the white supremacist mass shooter who killed 10 Black neighbors and wounded three other people May 14 at the Jefferson Avenue Tops market, which serves a predominantly Black neighborhood.

The mass shooting closed the store for two months and put a national spotlight on the concentration of poverty and the lack of fresh, healthy food options on Buffalo’s East Side.

 

The Tops store reopened July 15 following a complete renovation that includes memorials to the victims, but “We know there are some in the community that are not ready or don’t want to return to the Tops on Jefferson,” said Lisa French, executive director of the Field & Fork Network, which administers the Double Up Food Bucks NY program.

“With shopping options being extremely limited, we hope this move will give residents greater freedom to shop at alternative locations,” French said. “We want to be part of the solution by making it easier for people to access fresh local food and invest in our partners who are working overtime on the East Side.”

Participating partners offering unlimited matching funds in the Double Up Food Bucks program are:

• Clinton Bailey Farmers Market, 1443-1517 Clinton St. Sign up for Double Up cards on full market days, Saturdays through November.

• Urban Fruits & Veggies mobile markets – see the list at buffalogogreen.org/events.

• Buffalo’s Golden Corner, 1715 Jefferson Ave.

• Feedmore WNY Fresh Markets, multiple stops; see feedmorewny.org/programs-services/farm-market.

• African Heritage Food Co-op, 999 Broadway (inside the Broadway Market).

Anyone with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits can participate in the Double Up program. Unlimited match is only offered at the East Side partner locations; all other locations still have the $20 daily cap, said Field & Fork Communications and Partnerships Manager Nichole Borchard. Double Up matching funds do not expire and can be banked for future purchases at the same location where they were earned, she said.

Double Up is a federal, state and privately funded nutrition incentive program for anyone with SNAP/EBT and P-EBT (pandemic assistance that continues through the summer for children/families who qualify for free school lunches).

Field & Fork Network launched the program in New York in 2014, and Buffalo’s East Side was the first community to embrace it, Borchard said. One of the first locations was the Clinton Bailey Farmers Market, a site that continues to see increasing participation from families seeking healthy food options.

In the two weeks since Field & Fork removed the cap for the East Side partners, the Clinton Bailey market has matched $18,000 in Double Up Food Bucks, Borchard said. Last Saturday, “more than 100 people lined up by 8 a.m.” to enroll in the Double Up program there, she said.

Fran Desiderio of Desi’s Produce, which sells a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at Clinton Bailey, said she has been spreading the word about the Double Up cap being lifted there.

“People are very, very appreciative of this,” she said. “On Saturdays when the all the stands are full, we see people from all nationalities and cultures, and we are trying to cater to them by offering things like really hot peppers.”

Besides helping low-income families put more fresh, healthy food on their tables, Double Up also helps local farmers sell more produce and gets more food dollars circulating in the local economy, Borchard said.

The program operates at more than 180 sites across New York including farmers markets, corner stores, mobile markets, farm stands and some grocery stores. On Buffalo’s East Side, the unlimited match will assist food providers who stepped up to offer free meals in the wake of the May 14 hate crime.

“We feel it’s not realistic to ask people to go shopping every day to receive the maximum benefit under the $20 cap,” Borchard said. “Now if they go and spend $200 in one day, they will have earned another $200 on their Double Up card to use at that location.”

Borchard said Field & Fork is also working with Tops to implement the program at the Jefferson Avenue store “in a way that’s not cumbersome for the store and our reporting system.” Rather than offer Double Up cards, the grocery store will be able to print coupons for SNAP purchasers to use the program, she said.

See SNAP income guidelines at otda.ny.gov/programs/snap/.

The Double Up program received its first state funding this year, as a $2 million line item in Gov. Hochul’s 2022 budget . Borchard said Field & Fork expects the U.S. Department of Agriculture will match that to provide $4 million for the program next year.

More help

Two other providers recently announced new initiatives for food assistance:

No Kid Hungry will help families connect with the closest USDA-funded free summer lunch programs for children via text or three-digit call. Parents and caregivers across the state can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304 or call 311 for the most up-to-date hours and locations of nearby meal sites. No registration or documentation is required to receive a free meal.

The Community Action Organization opens a new food pantry at the Resource Council of WNY at 347 E. Ferry St. on Tuesday. In addition to food stocked by FeedMore WNY, the pantry also will provide fresh produce, meat, water and dairy items sourced through local partners including Providence Farms Collective and Fresh Fix, with state Community Services Block Grant funding. The CAO will celebrate the grand opening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday with free hotdogs and other giveaways.

The pantry will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays. Call 716-881-5150 to register or check on eligibility.

The new pantry is the 10th serving the Jefferson Avenue community. See a list of local food resources at feedmorewny.org/programs-services/find-food/.

Link to original article: Field & Fork expands access to fresh produce on Buffalo’s East Side | Local News | buffalonews.com

Increasing Access to Fresh Local Produce on Buffalo’s East Side

Increasing Access to Fresh Local Produce on Buffalo’s East Side
Program Offers Unlimited Match on SNAP Purchases & Invests in East Side Partner

Today Field & Fork Network announced, Double Up Food Bucks NY will increase access to fresh local produce on Buffalo’s East Side, with an unlimited $1 for $1 match on all SNAP eligible purchases at participating locations. The program has removed the existing $20 per-day earning cap allowing residents to earn on all their SNAP purchases now through the end of the year.

“We want to be part of the solution by making it easier for people to access fresh local food and invest in our partners who are working overtime on the East Side. We know there are some in the community that are not ready or don’t want to return to the Tops on Jefferson. With shopping options being extremely limited, we hope this move will give residents greater freedom to shop at alternative locations,” said Lisa French Co- Founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network.

When Double Up launched in New York in 2014, Buffalo’s East Side was the first community to embrace the program. One of the first locations offering the program was the Clinton Bailey Farmers Market, a site that continues to be one of our strongest partners today. This neighborhood is extremely important to our staff and board; we want to help in any way we can to
improve food access for the residents.

“For many of us, the East Side is not simply another part of Buffalo or an area we hear about in the news. The East Side was once and will always be home for me. I’m fortunate to be a part of an organization that not only prioritizes the needs of our community, but also embarks on intentional action to aid the community. Field & Fork Network’s commitment to helping those in need get that much closer to food security is a wonderful example of Buffalo rallying crucial support for our own, said Stephanie Tisdale, Field & Fork Network Board Chair.

“My family can trace its roots back to the East Side for over the last 70 years when my grandparents chose Riley St to settle down back in the 1930s. My family still owns their home and is an active part of the upkeep of the community. I’m grateful to serve with an organization that prioritizes long term and sustainable programs that pour directly back into the most vulnerable in our community. Field & Fork Network is a sterling example of why Buffalo is and will continue to be branded as the ‘City of Good Neighbors’,” said Stephon Parker, Field & Fork Network Vice Chair.

What is Double Up Food Bucks NY?

  • A federal, state, and privately funded nutrition incentive program that offers anyone with EBT/P-EBT a $1 for $1 match on their SNAP eligible purchases, up to $20 per day, to purchase local fresh produce.
  • Double Up provides multiple benefits: it’s a win for local farmers selling more produce; a win for low-income families putting more healthy food on their tables; and a win for area businesses as more food dollars circulate in the local economy.
  • The program operates at over 180 sites across New York State including grocery stores, corner stores, mobile markets, farmers markets and farm stands.
  • Since launching in 2014, Double Up has served over 38,000 New Yorkers, across 29 counties, resulting in 4.8Mlbs of healthy food sales.

Where can I earn an unlimited SNAP match?

  • Clinton Bailey Farmers Market, 1443-1517 Clinton Street
  • Urban Fruits & Veggies, multiple mobile market stops, 324 Glenwood Ave
  • Buffalo’s Golden Corner, 1715 Jefferson Avenue
  • Feedmore WNY Fresh Markets, 2090 Genesee St, multiple mobile stops
  • African Heritage Food Co-op, 999 Broadway Street, inside the Broadway Market
    Double Up Food Bucks is actively seeking new retail partners to operate the program. Participating retail partners must accept SNAP benefits. If you are interested or would like to recommend a business, please email bgertz@fieldandforknetwork.com

About Double Up Food Bucks NY

Double Up Food Bucks NY is a statewide nutrition incentive program, administered by Field & Fork Network that provides SNAP participants with a dollar-for-dollar match to increase affordability and access to fresh healthy foods at farmers markets, 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 29 counties. To learn more about Double Up Food Bucks and a complete list of participating sites, please visit the program website and social media sites, or call 1-800-682-5016. www.doubleupnys.com | Facebook Instagram

About Field & Fork Network

Field & Fork Network is a NYS nonprofit that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system. To learn more about our work please visit our website and social media sites at: www.fieldandforknetwork.com | Facebook Instagram Twitter

Field & Fork Network Partners with Emmanuel Sanders and the Buffalo Bills Foundation to Tackle Food Insecurity

Field & Fork Network’s Double Up Food Bucks New York program expands healthy food access for low-income families

Field & Fork Network announced its partnership with the Buffalo Bills Foundation today, joining a collection of local organizations participating in their Huddle for Hunger initiative addressing child hunger, nutritious food access, and healthy eating in Western New York. Double Up Food Bucks New York, a healthy food incentive program administered by Field & Fork Network, does just that by providing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) shoppers with a dollar-for-dollar match to purchase more fruits and vegetables.

Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders will take on a new position as spokesperson for the program. “I’m proud to help shine a light on healthy food disparities and programs like Double Up Food Bucks which work to make it easier for people to put nutritious food on the table for their families,” said Sanders. “This cause is very personal to me and I hope that through this partnership I can continue to connect with people of Western New York community, while ensuring they get access to the resources available to them that make food more affordable.”

Nearly 20% of Western New Yorkers are food insecure with a high potential of qualifying for SNAP benefits. With Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), $20 spent on eligible SNAP purchases equals an extra $20 earned that can be used to purchase fresh, local produce. Since piloting DUFB at seven Western New York farmers markets in 2014, Field & Fork Network has expanded the program into over 180 farmers markets, mobile markets, farm stands, small retail, and corner stores across 30 counties in New York State, serving over 24,000 SNAP customers.

“The partnership with the Buffalo Bills Foundation and Emmanuel Sanders is incredibly exciting and will no doubt significantly raise awareness of the Double Up Food Bucks New York program. Our goal of eradicating food insecurity while improving the health of SNAP shoppers and strengthening the local food economy is that much closer with their help and support,” states Field & Fork Network’s Executive Director, Lisa French.

In addition to the collaboration with Sanders, the Buffalo Bills Foundations generously awarded Field & Fork Network $25,000 to conduct marketing and outreach, across the region, for the Double Up Food Bucks New York program. Field & Fork Network will be launching a robust promotional campaign featuring Sanders that will help drive awareness of the program and inform SNAP shoppers how to best use the program in stretching their food budgets.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the Buffalo Bills Foundation and Emmanuel Sanders as we tackle food insecurity in Western New York,” said Frances McGuire, Program Manager. “Double Up Food Bucks is an incredible resource that empowers SNAP shoppers to make healthy choices. Emmanuel’s voice will help us go the extra yard to spread the word about the program in the community.”

The first installment in connecting the community together through football and food will be Field & Fork Network’s participation in the Buffalo Bills Foundation Game on September 26th. From 9am until game start at 1pm, you can find the Double Up Food Bucks team on the Billevard handing out prizes and program information and giving eligible attendees the opportunity to sign up. Thanks to the foundation, two DUFB shoppers were awarded free tickets to the game and will also be in attendance with their families. There may even be a special guest!

“I could not be more excited to be partnering with Emmanuel Sanders and the Buffalo Bills Foundation!” said Stephanie Tisdale, Field & Fork Network Board President. “Not everyone within our community is fortunate enough to have regular access to healthy, sustainable options. Double Up Food Bucks is an amazing program that makes this dream and need an attainable reality. Thank you so much to the Buffalo Bills Foundation for their role in this and a very special thanks to Mr. Sanders. We at Field & Fork Network are so appreciative, beyond excited, and this is only the beginning!”

Double Up Food Bucks not only encourages healthy eating while providing the means to afford and access local food by meeting people where they are, but also supports local farmers and economies by putting the money back into their pockets. It’s a win-win-win for all! Field & Fork Network will continue to work with local partners to expand DUFB into more communities that will benefit from it the most. To learn more about Double Up Food Bucks and to find a complete list of participating sites, please visit www.doubleupnys.com/locations.

KeyBank, in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, Awards Field & Fork Network $50,000 to Support Healthy Corner Store Initiative

Local Food Action Plan aims to bring healthy options to vulnerable neighborhoods of Niagara Falls to empower healthier food choices

Field & Fork Network has been awarded a $50,000 grant, from KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, to propel a healthy corner store initiative that will bring healthy food options to the Niagara Falls community, while providing technical support to store owners and nutrition education to residents. The project will be nurtured by Healthy Food Healthy People, a work group that is focused on increasing food access by strengthening the local food system. 

The grant, which gives back to First Niagara Foundation’s community roots, is part of KeyBank’s $40 billion National Community Benefits Plan which symbolizes their commitment to empowering individuals and neighborhoods through investment in programs that provide long term enhancement to their quality of life. 

 “The work that Field and Fork Network is doing to bring healthy and fresh food to all areas of our community is both important and transformational,” said Elizabeth Gurney, KeyBank Director of Corporate Philanthropy and Executive Director of the First Niagara Foundation. “We are so very supportive of their efforts and are proud to stand with them as they work to increase food access by strengthening the local food system.” 

 The healthy corner store initiative will not only encourage but give local businesses the tools to understand the importance as well as financial benefit to supporting fresh food sales. Residents will also be empowered to not only choose to eat healthy foods but have access to them, especially in those neighborhoods that may not have any other grocery options.  

 “We are so grateful for this funding from the First Niagara Foundation as it will allow for relevant stakeholders to come together to plan for and implement hyperlocal access to healthy food options in neighborhood-based corner stores, helping to alleviate transportation challenges, which is one of the largest barriers to accessing healthy food” said Tom Lowe, Project Director for the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan. 

 Healthy Food Healthy People started in 2013, and is comprised of over 35 community organizations and residents who have developed the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan to affect policy from the street up to government levels. The plan is strategically broken down into four key frameworks–agriculture, economic development, education, and healthy neighborhoods – each with several actionable and resident-driven objectives.  

 To read the full Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan and learn how to get involved in this or the other plan goals, visit https://bit.ly/NFfoodactionplan.