Partnering Against Poverty
Four environmentally-focused endowed funds at the Community Foundation had been awarding grants of several hundred to several thousand dollars every couple of years. But in 2014, the grant balances were combined to create an opportunity for one new and larger Green City Grant.
Seven nonprofit organizations applied for the funding to improve the environmental condition of vacant space in an area of highly concentrated poverty in the City of Rochester. Foodlink’s Lexington Avenue Urban Farm was the selected recipient. The one-acre parcel is located in a census tract where more than 40 percent of residents live in poverty. It also borders two other census tracts that are USDA-defined “food deserts” because they lack access to affordable, healthy food.
Founded in 2010 as a partnership between Foodlink, Mary’s Place, and Rochester Refugee Resettlement, the urban farm began by serving 10 Nepalese refugee families. Prior to the Green City Grant, the farm provided space for 37 families — more than 180 individuals. The grant helped Foodlink construct 25 more plant beds in the existing farm’s footprint and five more beds in their recently renovated Hoop House. The additional plant beds meant 16 more families and an increase in total yield by 25 percent — to 5,000 pounds.
This funding also supported the piloting of a fruit orchard and urban apiary and expansion of the farm’s presence in the community.