A handful of deserved local organizations will soon be benefitting from generous grant funding from the General Mills Foundation. United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC) has announced that it has partnered with the foundation, with intentions of “Strengthen the Community’s Food System”, by providing 13 organizations with staggered funding in the amount of $1 million.
The funding will help to address the need for wholesome foods to be available in all communities throughout the city, at a fair price, while keeping in mind the need for culturally preferred foods. In turn, the high need neighborhoods, which are the focus of the partnership, will see additional rewards in the form of increased employment, ownership, and entrepreneurship in food-related business. The list of organizations benefitting from the funding is a veritable who’s who of leaders that have set out to level the playing field where access to affordable and nutritious foods is concerned.
The recipients and their projects include: (Organization Name, Funding Amount, Program Name)
- The African Heritage Food Cooperative, $70,000, East Buffalo Food Hub Initiative
- Buffalo Go Green, $66,849, Bailey Green Greenhouse
- Community Action Organization, $73,924, Mobile Food Market
- Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County, $64,736, Building Capacity to offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Cost-Offsets to Low-Income Consumers
- F-BITES (Food Based Interventions Transforming Empowered Students), $84,000, Holistic Urban Development (lead image)
- Field & Fork Network, $36,508, Fresh Food Fellows (FFF) Programing on the Eastside
- The Food Policy Council of Buffalo & Erie County, $42,600, Building Capacity for a Stronger Regional Food System
- Friends of the Broadway Market District, $60,000, The Broadway Market’s Kitchen @ the Market – a new licensed commercial kitchen funded by the City of Buffalo
- Grassroots Gardens, $54,712, Community-Led Food: Building Infrastructure for Cultivation, Entrepreneurship and Education
- Healthy Corner Store Initiative, $118,720, Buffalo Healthy Corner Store Initiative brings healthier food options into neighborhood corner stores in and around the city of Buffalo.
- Massachusetts Avenue Project, $56,165, MAP Community Food Hub Project
- Somali Bantu Community Organization of Western New York, $73,954, Somali Bantu Community Farm Expansion and Collaboration with Journey’s End Refugee Services
- Westminster Economic Development Initiative, $50,000, West Side Bazaar Expansion Initiative
Michael Weiner, President and CEO of UWBEC commented, “We are thrilled with the support from the General Mills Foundation to improve food systems, policy, and access in our community. These programs represent more than just making food available in high need communities, but instead begin to address changing food systems, policies and culture that will help to create a more equitable system for all. We are delighted to play a part in helping these organizations further develop innovative and sustainable ideas to meet these challenges.”
Projects were chosen based on their ability to meet one or both of two critical goals:
- Increasing access to, and affordability of fresh and other food options that meet the economic, nutritional and cultural needs in high-need communities
- Increasing participation in the local food economy through employment, ownership and entrepreneurship related to fresh and other food options that meet the economic, nutritional and cultural needs of our communities.
“At General Mills our aim is to build and support food-secure communities,” said Louise Iverson, senior program manager, General Mills Foundation. “We are very proud to work in partnership with United Way of Buffalo & Erie County to reach our shared goal of increasing food security and food access by building a stronger food system in Buffalo.”
The one-time investment will support up to two years of activity with the expectation that the programs will be sustainable beyond that timeframe.