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Rochester's local, ethical shopping scene receives a much needed boost

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For the last two and a half decades, Rochester has seen regular improvements and updates to its local and ethical shopping scene. In 1987, a group of Rochester-area churchgoers founded One World Goods when they decided that the local sale of fair trade goods, hand-made products bought for fair prices from Nepal, India, and elsewhere, would not only benefit the people of Rochester but the impoverished communities where they were made. Nearly 27 years later, One World Goods is alive and thriving in the Pittsford Plaza on Monroe Avenue.

One World Goods doesn't stand alone in bringing the residents of the Flower City a more ethically viable choice. The city, seemingly, is ever filling up with new restaurants and food trucks looking to offer customers something they've been craving along with the rest of the country: local food that has been ethically raised and responsibly produced. Take Lettuce B. Frank, a well-known establishment that, up until recently, operated out of a food truck and from a brick-and-mortar store on South Clinton.

While they lost their restaurant, known as the Lettuce B. Frank Bistro, due to flash flood-related damage in July of 2013, the team was quickly back on its feet, offering the locally sourced beef sliders, salads, and other local flavors that brought them such notoriety. Their rebound was so successful, in fact, that they recently merged with Cipolla Romaine, a Rochester-area catering company.

The Flower City's fans of local, ethical shopping options received another bout of good news last week, when the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council was awarded $59.8 million in state dollars from New York State's ongoing Regional Economic Development Council. Local newspaper City broke the news that Rochester's Public Market, a farmers market serving the community since 1905, would be receiving $500,000 of those dollars to go ahead with plans to expand. That means more locally raised livestock and produce for shoppers at prices that the city's supermarkets are hard-pressed to match.

The Public Market already hosts 300 vendors and 40,000 shoppers every Saturday, but with the expansion, the City of Rochester is hoping to catch some of that lightning in a bottle. If the plans go ahead as planned, renovations to the market will be completed by late 2015, enabling the market to remain open more than two days a week and bringing a more diverse shopping experience to an already captive shopping audience.

For Rochester's population of ethically and locally minded shoppers, the people that completely fund the market with their shopping dollars, the expansion is simply icing on an already delicious cake.

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