Finger Lakes Fresh produces the highest quality products made with real, natural ingredients from New York farmers — supporting a healthy, vibrant local food system. Whenever you buy our products, you help to create jobs and training opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, and you strengthen our community.
Our Food Hub is a processing center where we aggregate local food, add value to it (through washing, chopping, pureeing, packaging, etc.), and distribute it to stores, restaurants, schools & Food Banks through our large existing network of distributors. Finger Lakes Fresh has been in the agricultural business for several years starting with our hydroponic greenhouse operation.
When Challenge opened its doors in 1968, it provided job training and placement services to 30 people with disabilities. Since that time, Challenge has grown in response to the needs of our community and now serves more than 1,000 people annually with a broad range of vocational programs and supports – including opportunities to work, learn useful job skills , and produce great healthy products at Finger Lakes Fresh Greenhouse or Food Hub.
It is our sincere wish that everyone who walks through our doors, or works in one of our businesses, will benefit from Challenge’s expertise in helping people of all abilities to find and keep meaningful employment, and to lead full and rewarding lives.
During the past several years, Challenge has been developing business enterprises as a way of supporting our mission to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers. Challenge operates four integrated businesses – employing workers with and without disabilities. All of these businesses generate income to support Challenge’s programs and services. The work we are doing now has a double bottom line – social and financial – and it is our goal to excel in both areas.
There is an increasingly high demand for local food, but until now there has not been an effective network for consistently connecting our area farmers to customers. The efficiency of a single “Hub” in our food delivery system will give a big boost is sales to many local farmers and save enormous distribution time and thousands of gallons of fuel each year on transportation.
The central focus of our Food Hub is to provide integrated work opportunities to people with and without barriers, while generating revenue to support the programs and services Challenge offers our clients. The Food Hub will create more than 35 new jobs in its first three years of operation.
The work we do is all about people – better jobs, better food, better collaborations, and a better quality of life for all of us. We’re stronger when we work together and include everyone in the effort to build a better community.
Happily, there is an ever-increasing demand for year-round access to local food in our area. Small farmers are not individually able to meet the demand of most distributors. By partnering with the Food Hub farmers will, in many cases, have a demand for all the produce they can grow. This strong & consistent market for their goods can complement their other existing outlets such as farmer’s markets and CSAs.