Foodlink awarded ‘Rooted in Evidence’ grant funding to evaluate new nutrition ranking system

Foodlink is one of five food banks nationwide to receive grant funding through The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition’s inaugural Rooted in Evidence grant program.

The grant supports food banks currently implementing “innovative and dynamic programming to improve the health and dietary quality of emergency food recipients.” Foodlink’s project includes the evaluation of its new “The Healthy Choice” nutrition ranking system in its network of “Front Door” agencies across its 10-county service area. Funding will help Foodlink understand how improvements to the nutritional quality of the food it receives and distributes will impact pantry- and client-level outcomes.

Funding for this program is provided by the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition Foundation.

The Healthy Choice is a new, evidence-based nutrition ranking system adopted by Foodlink that monitors and improves the proportion of nutritious foods distributed to its network of agencies. Foods are placed in green, yellow and red categories based on their nutritional value, and Foodlink aims to build client-facing messaging to encourage the selection of healthier foods. Foodlink is committed to distributing 95% green- and yellow-ranked foods by 2021.

The Healthy Choice is one component of Foodlink’s new Community Healthy Committment, which was established in 2018 as a means to implement nutrition guidelines for the receipt and distribution of food.

Other food banks that received grant funding include: Food Gatherers (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Montana Food Bank Network (Missoula, Mont.), Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Maryville, Tenn.) and Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (Raleigh, N.C.).

Learn more about the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, and all of the grantees’ projects by visiting:

Feeding America grants support to Foodlink for government shutdown response

In response to the government shutdown earlier this year, Feeding America garnered support from organizations across the country to help offset costs that food banks faced to meet the rising need in their communities.

In early June, a third round of funding was allocated to various food banks across the network, and Foodlink was generously awarded $70,000 to help with costs associated with its “SNAP Gap” distributions in February. Foodlink, with crucial support from the United Way of Greater Rochester, garnered community support from donors and food providers to hold 14 “SNAP Gap” distributions during school vacation week Feb. 18-22. Some distributions were held in rural areas, and were existing Mobile Pantry sites with additional product. Five distributions, however, were held in the City of Rochester at various locations, and required a substantial amount of resources to pull off.

Several organizations donated to Feeding America during this difficult time, and we appreciate their generosity greatly. They include: BJs Charitable Foundation, California Community Foundation, Health Care Service Corporation, HP Foundation, HSBC Bank USA N.A., JPMorgan Chase, Katzenberger Foundation, PwC Charitable Foundation, Smuckers, Splunk/Doug Merritt, TJX Foundation, United Airlines, and the Visa Foundation.

Foodlink Career Fellowship now recruiting second class

The Foodlink Career Fellowship, a year-long culinary training program and New York State-recognized apprenticeship, is recruiting individuals for its second class set to begin this summer.

The Fellowship aims to train individuals (18 and older) who have lived and worked in poverty for middle-skills careers in the regional food industry. The 12-month program includes nine months as a paid apprenticeship, and provides on-the-job training in Foodlink’s Community Kitchen, and at a regional employer during a three-month externship.

Fellows also learn basic cooking techniques through an online culinary training program (Rouxbe), take field trips, learn from guest speakers, and earn several food industry credentials, including ServSafe levels 1 & 2, Allergen Training, and CPR/First Aid/ AED training.

Anyone interested in applying for the Foodlink Career Fellowship must be nominated by a community-based organization or community mentor.

The due date for all applications is June 24.

Interviews and job shadowing will take place in June, and selected applicants will receive their offer letters by the first week of July. Please contact Career Coach Clayton Waller ( to receive a nomination packet.