SCHUMER DELIVERS $44K TO BLUEPRINT GENEVA TO CREATE COMMUNITY KITCHEN TO COMBAT FINGER LAKES’ FOOD DESERT; SCHUMER-SECURED FUNDING WILL TAP INTO FINGER LAKES’ AGRICULTURE TO PROVIDE FRESH PRODUCE, FEED THE HUNGRY & BOOST NEW COMMUNAL GATHERING SPACE TO HELP LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS AND RESIDENTS FLOURISH
In Recent Years Geneva Has Lost Many Top Grocery Providers; Limiting Access To Fresh Produce And Worsening Pre-Existing Food Insecurity Issues
Schumer Delivered Funding Will Allow Blueprint Geneva To Open New Community Kitchen And Café To Increase Healthy Food Options For Geneva Residents
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced he has secured $44,000 for BluePrint Geneva to combat food insecurity in the Finger Lakes through a new community kitchen and storefront location in the City of Geneva to increase accessibility of fresh, healthy foods to underserved neighborhoods. The funding was secured by the senator as a part of the bipartisan omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year 2022. Schumer explained that Geneva is classified as a food desert and that this project will utilize Finger Lakes agriculture to provide quality affordable meals and create a much-needed gathering space for the local community.
“Access to fresh, affordable, healthy food options shouldn’t be a luxury for communities in Upstate New York, it is a basic right. This project is a win-win that will tap into the Finger Lakes rich agricultural bounty to help give fresh food options to those who need it most, all while boosting the downtown and giving young chefs & entrepreneurs a space to learn and grow,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to deliver this funding to BluePrint Geneva to strengthen their tremendous work in combatting food insecurity, and giving the people of Geneva the community space and food options they deserve.”
"As the city builds its Finger Lakes food and beverage brand, we can play a role in that. Thanks to Senator Schumer’s efforts to secure this funding, the kitchen can be a training ground for aspiring chefs who can learn and work alongside our chef Samantha, with all of her accomplishments and skills, and then move on to other restaurants or start one of their own. Together, we can move the needle in so many ways" said Jackie Augustine, Executive Director of BluePrint Geneva.
"There are so many stresses people are juggling, even before the pandemic complicated things, and providing a healthy meal that's ready to eat can help alleviate the food-related stress," said Samantha Buyskes, Chef and board member of BluePrint Geneva who has a deep culinary history informed in part by the efforts of José Andrés of World Food Kitchen. "He says, 'when people are hungry, send in the cooks' and that really captures my belief that good food is an act of caring and healing in a community."
"When environmental contamination made it unsafe for people to have backyard gardens, we started public gardens to grow the produce and distribute it so neighbors wouldn't have to add to their grocery bill to replace what they lost; now we are turning our attention to people who don't have kitchens, or time, or funds to make healthy hot meals. We can help fill in those gaps,” said Teresa Velez, Board President of BluePrint Geneva.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Access Research Atlas, food deserts persist throughout neighborhoods in the City of Geneva due to the relatively high number of low-income households and lack of easy access to a supermarket or large grocery store. In recent years, Geneva has lost many top grocery providers, limiting access to fresh produce and worsening pre-existing food insecurity issues across the city, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schumer explained that the federal funding he secured will address this issue at its core by giving community leaders the resources to fill existing gaps and provide new food options to residents. BluePrint Geneva will build upon its existing community led efforts in the food security realm by opening a community kitchen and pay-what-you-can-café that will be open in the evening and on weekends when other food pantries are not, and will focus on giving community members’ personal choice when selecting their healthy food options. When not preparing and supplying these meals to the community, the space and equipment can be used as a shared commercial kitchen, giving food entrepreneurs a place to prepare their products and grow their businesses, as well as providing a gathering place for the community for food education. Geneva is located in the heart of the world-class Finger Lakes agricultural region, allowing both BluePrint Geneva and aspiring chefs to leverage the region’s agricultural bounty to provide quality, affordable meals to the local community. BluePrint expects the café to open to the public this summer.
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