The Perfect Granola on Wednesday publicly announced its extended partnership with Foodlink to produce the first NYS Grown & Certified ready-to-eat grain product, and its partnership with New York State as the State’s first grain product that is part of the Farm-to-Institution Program.
At a press event inside Foodlink’s distribution center, outside the doors to the Foodlink Community Kitchen, owner Michele Liddle made the announcement, alongside several county and state officials, and Foodlink’s Chief Operating Officer, Terra Keller.
“The Foodlink Community Kitchen relocated and expanded three years ago with the intention of building new partnerships and scaling up to meet the demand for healthy, locally-sourced meals and minimally processed products,” Keller said. “We’re proud to support the growth of a great, local, woman-owned business and provide new jobs and training opportunities inside our state-of-the-art facility.”
New allergy-free granola pouches will be produced at Foodlink, creating new jobs within the kitchen, and providing an opportunity to expand Foodlink’s workforce development program, The Foodlink Career Fellowship.
“Everything we do in our company is in an effort to help those in need and this is just another layer of how we use our business to support our community,” Liddle said.
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo was in attendance, and delivered remarks lauding the partnership, and the rapid growth of a local, woman-led organization. The Perfect Granola, which now sells its product in Wegmans, Walmart and many other big-name retailers, is among the fastest growing granola companies in the nation.
Other speakers at Wednesday’s event included Sen. Joe Robach, Scott Ziobrowski, President of the NYS School Nutrition Association; and David Valesky, Deputy Commissioner of NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Hardworking honeybees deserve most of the credit, but participants in our Foodlink Career Fellowship also were hard at work Friday morning preparing jars of honey from the Lexington Avenue Community Farm!
Led by Nathaniel Mich, Foodlink’s Edible Education & Urban Farming Specialist, four Fellows and a farm volunteer spent the morning pouring honey into 68 jars. Nearly all of it will be sold on the Curbside Market — Foodlink’s mobile farmers market. The jars likely will retail for $5 — about half what you might normally pay in a grocery store.
Honey was harvested at the farm for the first time last year, and was given the name “50,000 sisters,” representing how many bees — all related and all female — that typically live together in a hive. Now that the honey is bottled, we’ll be sticking our labels on them soon and getting them out to our loyal Curbside customers!
Our 2019 Fill the Bus campaign wrapped up a week ago, and preliminary numbers show that more than 400,000 pounds of products are headed to Foodlink to support our BackPack Program!
This year’s campaign was held at multiple Wegmans locations in the Rochester area between August 25 and Sept. 7. Shoppers had a chance to purchase bags of kid-friendly foods for $3, $5 or $10.
The food will be donated to Foodlink to support the BackPack Program, which helps alleviate childhood hunger in our region. According to the most recent Map the Meal Gap report by Feeding America, more than 48,000 children in our region are considered food insecure, which means they live in a household with limited or uncertain acccess to healthy foods.
Schools throughout our 10-county service area identify children who might be at risk of food insecurity. Each Friday, Foodlink sends bags of food to more than 80 schools, and more than 3,000 bags end up in backpacks for kids to take home for the weekend — when they know longer have access to school meals.
This is the 7th year that Foodlink and Wegmans have collaborated for Fill the Bus. Other sponsors included Fidelis Care, and our media sponsors at 13WHAM ABC, WUHF Fox Rochester, and CW Rochester.
In collaboration with Foodlink, the following press release was sent Sept. 3, 2019, by the office of U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle:
ROCHESTER – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle along with Foodlink, The Children’s Agenda, members of the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), and community stakeholders announced their strong opposition to the President’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and submitted public comment outlining their concerns. The proposed rule could cause an estimated 3.1 million people nationwide—including at least 87,000 New Yorkers—to lose access to SNAP benefits, jeopardizing their ability to provide food for themselves and their families.
“This unconscionable proposal demonstrates an utter disregard for the needs of everyday families and would serve only to pull the rug out from under millions of Americans in their time of need,” said Rep. Morelle. “The 87,000 New Yorkers who rely on these essential benefits for food security deserve better. We must work to every day to uplift the most vulnerable in our community and eliminate the barriers that prevent them from thriving.”
“Any threat to SNAP is a threat to the work we do and the people we serve every day,” said Julia Tedesco, President & CEO of Foodlink, Rochester’s regional food bank. “SNAP provides nearly 10 times the amount of meals to the American public than the entire Feeding America network. Cuts to this vital anti-poverty program would put an overwhelming burden on the emergency food system, and risk the health and well-being of thousands of families in our area.”
“For millions of Americans affected by poverty, the first step on the path toward self-sufficiency comes when they can move beyond the crisis and daily trauma of food insecurity. Eliminating the Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility Option would create a much steeper path to self-sufficiency for many families who rely on SNAP benefits, stripping their ability to build savings for emergencies and adding unnecessary roadblocks,” said Jerome Underwood, Co-Chair of the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. “It also subjects children and their families to the many negative health and mental health effects that come with food insecurity. We must stand together as a community to protect our most vulnerable neighbors and oppose this proposed change.”
“The Trump administration’s proposed changes to SNAP will harm thousands of low-income children and families in our community,” said Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda. “Research shows that food security is critical to giving children the best possible start to life. Our nation’s leaders should ensure that vulnerable children and families are able to thrive, not look for ways to remove critical food supports. This proposed rule jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of children, and we urge the Trump administration to reverse it immediately.”
Congressman Morelle joined community partners at Foodlink to help mark the start of Hunger Action Month — an annual campaign spearheaded by Feeding America every September to raise awareness about hunger in our communities – and urge the President to rescind his proposed SNAP change.
The proposed rule change would eliminate broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) for SNAP benefits, leaving New York seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and working families without adequate access to food assistance. In addition, it would put those in SNAP eligible households at risk of losing free school meals.
The cost savings of the change would come at a significant cost to the health and well-being of citizens in Rochester and communities like it nationwide.
Rep. Morelle as well as representatives from Foodlink, RMAPI, The Children’s Agenda, and a number of community stakeholders have submitted public comment urging the President and the Department of Agriculture to rescind this rule immediately.