BUFFALO, N.Y. April 24, 2018 — Field & Fork Network is pleased to announce that it has received a $36,508 grant from the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and the General Mills Foundation as part of their Community Food Systems Grant Program. These funds will bring Field & Fork Network’s Fresh Food Fellows curriculum, a multi-faceted educational and outreach program for youth and young adults who want to learn more about the food system and their role in it, to Buffalo’s East Side.

The Fresh Food Fellows program has two tracks. Track I, for youth ages 12-16, will focus on teaching the full spectrum of the food system from seed to waste, engaging participants as change-makers in their respective neighborhoods and guiding them to claim their voice and place in the food system. Interactive curriculum and hands-on learning will provide exposure to many factors in the food chain including farmers, business owners, and their role as consumers.

Track II will prepare young adults ages 17-24 to participate in the food system in a more entrepreneurial way, enabling them to pursue employment, ownership and entrepreneurship related to fresh and other food options that meet the economic, nutritional and cultural needs of their community.

“It has never been more important to educate and prepare the next generation of food system practitioners. Whether you grow or process food or desire to improve the food system in some other way, laying the foundation at a young age is critical for the future of our food system at a local, regional and global scale.” said Lisa French, executive director of Field & Fork Network.

Field & Fork Network received additional grant funding as a partner on Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County’s award. This project will center around building capacity to offer community supported agriculture cost-offsets to low-income consumers. Field & Fork Network’s role will be to assist in the research and the program design as well as assisting with a nutrition education series to complement the project.

This funding is made possible through a partnership between the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and the General Mills Foundation. The $1 million commitment, shared with 12 other local organizations, aims to improve local community food security and will support projects that address food access and affordability as well as increase employment, ownership and entrepreneurship opportunities related to food in high-need neighborhoods.

The one-time investment will support up to two years of activity with the expectation that the programs will be sustainable beyond that timeframe.