The Finger Lakes region has a national reputation for both its cost effective health care system as well as its innovative and growing food and farming economy.

Yet the health, food and agricultural sectors continue to work in isolation from one another, even as evidence mounts that the way we farm and the food we eat is interwoven with our health on multiple levels.

Despite the agricultural abundance of the Finger Lakes region, many residents in our region experience food insecurity and diet-related problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and poor mental health.


In April 2017, we convened the Food, Farms and Health Symposium to examine the roots of this problem and to begin a conversation about barriers to accessing healthy food.

In October of 2017, we dedicated ourselves to an on-going exploration of the disconnect between our region’s agricultural abundance and the high rates of diet-related health issues in many of our communities.

Together with our partners at S2ay Rural Health NetworkFoodlink and a select committee of experts we are addressing these questions:

* What foods do different communities have access to? How do they access it?

* What food is grown and produced in our region? Does it provide the healthy food our communities need? Could it?

Take action

Our exploration of the connection between food access and health is based on equal parts big data, community surveys and personal stories.

Please contribute to this work by taking our survey.

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Our Discoveries

Food and Health Connection

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Issues - Food and Health Connection - Articles Featured

Issues - Food and Health Connection - Articles

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    Initiative asks what prevents residents from accessing vegetables and fruits

    January 18, 2019

    Together with partners at S2ay Rural Health Network, Foodlink and a steering committee of local experts, Common Ground Health is seeking to learn more about the access that different communities have to fruits and vegetables, and how these varying levels of access are connected to rates of diet-related illnesses.

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    “When you have kids, it's risky to buy new things”

    December 07, 2018

    A farmers market just for kids lets them try new vegetables without risking a family’s limited food budget. The Food Bank of the Southern Tier runs the Kids' Farmers Market program, which allows kids to "shop" for vegetables of their own choosing. 

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    "Affordability is always the focus": a conversation with Sue Segelman

    September 20, 2018

    Earlier this year we sat down with Sue Segelman, the nutrition outreach and education program coordinator at Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc., to talk about what she sees as our region's greatest challenges to ensuring access to fruits and vegetables for everyone. We also talked about the "programs of promise" that help make fruits and vegetables more widely available.

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    Symposium explores food scarcity amidst agricultural abundance

    April 11, 2017

    The Finger Lakes region is rich in fruit and vegetable farms. Yet in an area of agricultural abundance, 22 percent of the population goes without eating healthy, fresh food. That malnourishment has a profound impact on health outcomes.