BUFFALO – New York State Assemblymember Jonathan D. Rivera announced, as part of the NYS Assembly’s Budget Initiatives process in which state grants are provided in support of services that benefit local communities, that $30,000 in state funding has been acquired for the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP).
The initiative is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit with a mission to nurture the growth of a sustainable and equitable community food system to promote local economic opportunities, access to affordable, nutritious food and social-change education.
The acquired state funding will support MAP’s Mobile Market and the training they conduct with low-income youth.
About a quarter of Buffalo’s households and about 40% of households with children rely on public food assistance. The pandemic has led to even greater disparities within food-insecure neighborhoods.
MAP’s Mobile Market not only increases healthy food access and food-based education to some of Buffalo’s most vulnerable populations, but also provides education, employment and job training opportunities for at-risk youth.
Diane Picard, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Avenue Project, said, “Although the increased food needs that the pandemic caused are still being felt by many, this generous support from Assemblymember Rivera will help MAP increase healthy and affordable food access to thousands of Buffalo households, support local farmers and provide jobs and job training to young people.”
MAP’s Mobile Market will bring locally produced fruits and vegetables to nine neighborhoods across Buffalo, beginning in June. The market will make stops at the Boys & Girls Club of the Northtowns - Town Club, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, Elim Christian Fellowship, Jericho Road Community Health Center, Hispanics United of Buffalo, Neighborhood Health Centers, The Belle Center, and Veterans One-Stop of WNY. MAP also operates a market at their Farmhouse, located at 387 Massachusetts Avenue.
The market provides produce grown at MAP’s urban farm and more than 10 regional farms, including Cornerstone Orchards (Youngstown), Erdle Farm (Silver Creek), Oles Family Farm (Alden), Providence Farm Collective (East Aurora) and Weiss Farms (East Eden).
The diversity of the youth that MAP works with also reflects the communities they serve, and the West Side neighborhood where the organization is rooted.
For example, more than 60% of the youth that MAP works with come from immigrant or refugee families and 94% come from low-income households.
Within these neighborhoods is a documented lack of grocery stores, farmers markets and fresh food access. MAP works with established partners in these neighborhoods to improve regular healthy food access that is affordable and locally sourced.
Assemblymember Rivera said, “This funding will lend support to MAP’s mission to build food equity within the city of Buffalo, and will facilitate more opportunities for the initiative’s youth training services. In a post-pandemic period in which food insecurity is an ever-present concern, non-profits like MAP are an indispensable resource in the fight against nutrition inequality.”
Learn more about this initiative at https://www.mass-ave.org/.