Foodlink’s Curbside Market Brings Fresh Produce to Underserved Communities

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With my half day of work on Friday complete, I jumped on my bike and headed into the city to hit up a couple of shops and grab some food at my favorite establishments. My journey took me down the mile-long cycle track that parallels Union Street, the site of an explosion of market rate and affordable housing on the footprint of the former Inner Loop expressway.

I slowed as I approached a family in front of me, carrying bags, walking away from what looked to be one of the dozens of food trucks that feed our Rochester scene. As I rode closer, I saw that it wasn’t a food truck, but rather a Foodlink Curbside Market vehicle. Foodlink is a Greater Rochester organization that aims to end food insecurity and provide healthy produce to underserved communities in the Finger Lakes region.

I stopped my cargo ebike and surveyed the vast “menu” of healthy produce, and briefly talked up the wonderful young woman who fulfilled my order of spinach, portabella mushrooms, and carrots. My total came to $6.50, far less than I would have paid at my local Wegmans or Tops market.

In Rochester and cities across our country, “food deserts” (low-income communities that don’t have access to healthy, sustainable food such as fresh produce) are far too common. Approximately one-quarter of all Rochester residents do not own a car, most for financial reasons, and thus do not have convenient or reliable access to a grocery store. Foodlink’s Curbside Market program works to fill that gap, selling $300,000 worth of healthy food to underserved communities annually, according to their website.

My wife and I are privileged to have easy access to healthy food, but so many in our community and our country are not so fortunate. Through the Curbside Market program and countless other ways, Foodlink is tirelessly working to bridge this despairity by providing convenient access to healthy foods for families across our region.