Rochester City Councilmember

Healthy Neighborhoods

Zip code is a better predictor of health than genetic code.  


Zip code describes neighborhoods like mine, in 14608, where the only place to buy food is the corner store, and kids have limited options to play. My neighbors’ children in 14608 are expected to live nine years fewer than children born in Pittsford.

Health is powerfully influenced by where people live, learn, work, and play. Neighborhood characteristics impact health because they influence an individual’s ability to adopt behaviors that promote health. Efforts to change health-related behaviors are most effective when they also address the environments in which people make their daily choices. For example, access to affordable and fresh produce is critical to a healthy diet. Foodlink’s Curbside Market makes fresh produce accessible and affordable by setting up markets in housing facilities and community centers.

Case Study: Curbside Market

Curbside Market, a farmstand on wheels, brings fresh produce from local farms to areas in and around Rochester where healthy food is not readily available. Curbside market runs six days a week, visiting roughly 100 sites in our region, and has served over 20,000 customers in the last six months.

Photo credit: Foodlink, INC. 

Photo credit: Foodlink, INC. 

Curbside Market is an example of my ability to recognize a problem, find an innovative solution, and garner the right combination of public, private, and nonprofit support to be successful. 

Curbside is one solution. We need many more to make our neighborhoods healthier.

Here are successful, neighborhood-level initiatives that we should use as models:

  • Fare & Square Market, Chester, PA. A grocery store owned by the regional food bank and supported by the municipality.

  • Playable Bus Stops, Baltimore, MD. Bus stops transformed from places of waiting to ones that encourage families to play.

  • Healthy Homes Zone, Cleveland, OH. A collaboration between hospitals and housing authorities to identify and address health disorders commonly associated with subpar housing.