Foodlink’s nutrition educators took center stage at the City of Rochester Public Market on Thursday, helping to mark the grand opening of the market’s new Nutrition Education Center.
The new kitchen space, located inside Shed B, will host a variety of community nutrition and culinary programs, including Foodlink’s weekly Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables workshops. Each Thursday and Saturday morning (9 and 10 a.m.), Foodlink educators Marcy McMahon and Desiree Bass share recipes, nutrition lessons and shopping tips to encourage market patrons to adopt healthier eating habits with a limited budget.
The City of Rochester and Foodlink were key partners in this venture, along with Wegmans Food Markets, the Friends of the Public Market, State Sen. Joe Robach, and Summit Federal Credit Union. Mitch Gruber, a City Council member and Foodlink’s Chief Programs Officer, has long been a fan of the market, both for its rich history and for what it has evolved into today.
“This is the biggest market in the entire nation when it comes to SNAP transactions — formerly food stamps — by a significant margin,” Gruber said. “There’s no market that comes close to serving as many people with SNAP benefits, which is why it’s so important for us at Foodlink to come here and give people the skills to cook.”
Just Say Yes is one of three nutrition education programs delivered by Foodlink throughout the Rochester area. Cooking Matters is a six-week course that caters to various age groups, while Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York is a program designed for SNAP recipients that focuses on eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing consumption of sugary beverages, and exercise.
Mayor Lovely A. Warren said the market’s new Nutrition Education Center “adds value to the Public Market, making it a place where you can buy healthy, affordable food, learn how to prepare it, and enjoy being a part of a community that’s excited about good food.”