Cycling can build an appetite, so I found the sign “Sweet Corn” irresistible.
At the Farm 2 Preschool food stand on South Avenue I was greeted by a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables. And by Darla Ferrante, Farm to Preschool Coordinator, and Cathleen Konopka, Project Assistant, and Cammy Edwards, Project intern. Located across from the Highland Hospital and next to the Highland Branch Library and the James P.B. Duffy School, the stand is ideally located to serve the surrounding neighborhood. I happily filled my bag with cucumbers, tomatoes and, of course, sweet corn — and even received a red oven mitt with my purchases!
As explained to me by Darla, Farm to Preschool is about much more than selling produce. Its mission is to teach young children about locally grown fruits and vegetables, nutrition and gardening. A head start on healthy eating for life.
Facilitated by the Child Care Council, F2P is a branch of the national program funded by the NYS Department of Health. Begun in 2014, the goal is making fresh, local produce more readily available to low income communities. Specifically, the program targets the parents and children at three local child care centers in Rochester and also one in Buffalo. At each location once a week, the staff sets up a tent outside the child care center, selling fresh produce from McCraken Farm in Brockport and Mank Farm in Hilton, offering different sample recipes each week, along with a free gift to incentivize people to buy produce and eat healthier. (This week potholders and my oven mitt.)
The locations are:
Rochester Child First Network 941 South Avenue Mon 2 – 4:30pm
YMCA Metro 444 East Main Street Wed 3:30 – 6:30 pm
VOA Children’s Center 214 Thurs Lake Avenue 3 – 5:30pm
Ripen with US Child Care Center 550 Kenmore Ave, Buffalo Tues 3:30 – 6pm
I was also impressed with Cathleen, University of Rochester ’15 and Cammy, University of Rochester ’16, a Public Health major. Both were on varsity sports teams, softball and track respectively, and like to share their ideas on healthy lifestyles. Next year Cathleen will be working with AmeriCorps in an RCSD school.
For more on AmeriCorps and city schools, see AmeriCorps plans to leave lasting legacy at the Douglass Campus