the friends mission
The Friends of the Rochester Public Market is a 501(c)3 all-volunteer-based non-profit organization. We partner with the The City of Rochester to advocate for and support a vibrant and successful Market, through results-driven programs and services that benefit and support farmers, vendors, shoppers and the Greater Rochester community.
Who We Are… People From the Community Just Like You
Since 2006, this small nonprofit has partnered with the City of Rochester Public Market to advocate for and support a vibrant and successful Market, through programs and services that benefit and support farmers, vendors and shoppers - and that nourish our diverse community. While we are a small nonprofit, we do mighty things!
The “Friends” is a volunteer organization founded in 2003 to help celebrate the Market’s 100th anniversary. After working with Market staff over the course of a year to plan and carry out special events to recognize this momentous occasion, this small group of volunteers decided they wanted to continue their efforts on behalf of their beloved Market. They then incorporated as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, allowing them to form a public/non-profit partnership with the Market, which has resulted in a wide range of programs and services that “Make the Market More!”
Since 2003, the Friends has grown in volunteer membership and funding support in order to carry out a targeted number of successful programs and events. We are an action-focused group, working collaboratively with the Market to identify priority needs, then taking positive action to address those needs.
The” Friends” most significant program is the Market Token Program, which since 2008 has made it possible for customers who have Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamp) benefits to purchase the fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy affordable foods available at the Market. The concept behind this grass roots program is simple - when people have ready access to affordable, healthful foods they are more likely to eat better and to make healthy food choices.
The Market SNAP Token program increases food security for thousands. Plus, it makes significant impact on more healthful food selections. Over half of our customers who purchase SNAP Tokens report eating more fruits and vegetables, and an amazing 90% report that they and their families are eating healthier as a result of the Token program! And 80% of our customers report shopping more frequently at the Market as a result of the program.
In addition, our corps of 100+ active volunteers support our Market shoppers, vendors and the community by:
Providing free weekly tours of the Market every Thursday from April through October, reaching thousands of youth and adult audiences
Operating the Market’s Welcome Center and selling market branded merchandise every Saturday from May through December
Presenting the annual Artist Row art show each September, providing an opportunity for new and emerging artists to show and sell their ware to the community
Staffing Market and “Friend” tables at numerous health fairs and events throughout the community, to increase awareness of the Market and the SNAP Token program
Support the Market through “volunteer staffing support” and funding for annual events including the Holidays at the Market, Halloween at the Market, and other Market efforts throughout the year.
The “Friends” are able to provide these and other efforts with a “lean” operating budget. Other than one part time contract program director and a very part time bookkeeper, all the Friends efforts are carried out entirely by volunteers. The Friends receive funding through donations, grants, sponsorships, as a United Way Donor Choice agency, and from the sale of market branded merchandise including a Market Cookbook that was developed by the Friends to celebrate the bounty of the Market.