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Capital Roots breaks ground in downtown Troy on new Good Food Market

Capital Roots is expanding its Good Food Market and incubator kitchen in downtown Troy.

The expanded Urban Grow Center will be adjacent to the current Capital Roots hub and office headquarters on River Street. The Troy-based non-profit aims to bring fresh produce to residents in urban communities typically described as “food deserts.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “food desert” as any community without a full-standing market in a one-mile radius.

CEO Amy Klein says they’re common in the Capital Region – and given many residents either walk or use public transportation, the very layout of cities like Troy can limit access to fresh food.

Klein says they first opened the current grow center in the city seven years ago to address this issue.

"This expansion really allowed us to supply for the first time hundreds of thousands of people with top quality food at affordable prices all across the Capital Region," Klein said. "In the last seven years, we have dramatically increased the volume of food that we have been able to purchase from local producers. When we moved into this facility, we were purchasing 200,000 pounds of food, and we are up to about 800,000 pounds of food."

Visiting the construction site last week, Capital Region Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko says it is important to acknowledge that food deserts exist.

“That there are those out there who are hungry and need to have those elements of hunger addressed. Children who can't learn on an empty belly. Individuals who need to know that eating smart is part of a sound nutritious and wellness agenda," he said.

The 13,000 square foot project will include an incubator kitchen and a new market, sponsored by CDPHP, that will distribute fruits and vegetables year round, in addition to local meat and dairy.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Klein invoked “Stone Soup,” the folk story about a village coming together to create a delicious soup. Rather than use shovels to commemorate the groundbreaking, Klein asked supporters and partners to each place a vegetable into a large pot.

Capital Region state Assemblyman John McDonald says the five cities in the 108th district grapple with poverty and a lot of challenges to healthy nutrition.

“This was a no brainer. We don't really have much discretionary money in this day and age. But, Amy gave me my instructions. I went to Speaker Heastie and said, ‘Carl, this is a good thing,’ and he said, ‘Absolutely,'" McDonald said. "And we were able to secure SAM funds to help support this, which is not always easy to come by.

SAM funds are available through the State and Municipal Facilities Program.

A Capital Roots spokesman says the total cost estimate of the project is $8.8 million with a 12 month completion plan.