Mandela Market expansion now providing fresh foods in Buffalo food desert

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the $145,000 expansion project at 272 East Ferry Street has been completed.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A recent expansion to the Mandela Market on Buffalo’s East Side will help provide fresh fruit and vegetables to those in a federally recognized food desert.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the $145,000 expansion project at 272 East Ferry Street has been completed. The expansion was supported by funding from New York State’s East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund and Buffalo Billion II initiative.

According to the governor’s office, the Mandela Market is open 24 hours a day and is accessible by bus routes, providing fresh foods to a neighborhood partially covered by a USDA-designated second standard food desert.

“Access to fresh, quality food is critical to the health and prosperity of all communities during these challenging times,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York State is proud to support projects like the expansion of the Mandela Market and the continuing revitalization of Buffalo’s East Side. I congratulate Ahmed Saleh, who works hard every day to provide food to the neighborhood he lives in and loves.” 

Saleh established Mandela Marked in 2007 and opened a second location on Broadway Street in 2018. 

The governor’s office says Saleh undertook this expansion to offer his customers healthier food options as well as prepared food. The recent expansion at the East Ferry Street location involved construction of an additional 1,500 square foot space, as well as purchasing new equipment.

“We are pleased the expansion of our market on East Ferry street is complete and ready to be enjoyed by residents of Buffalo’s East Side,” Saleh said. “I thank New York State for supporting this opportunity to bring fresh produce, new food options and additional jobs to a neighborhood in need of convenient, affordable and nutritious meal options.”

“Lack of access to fresh food is an injustice,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We are proud to support the expansion of Mandela Market, which will put healthy food on the table for families in Buffalo’s East Side. Thank you to Mandela Market founder Ahmed Saleh, who is helping lead the way to make our community even stronger.” 

Governor Cuomo announced the $50 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund back in March 2019. The initiative was created to revitalize Buffalo’s East Side through “investments in the four main north-south commercial corridors.” This includes Michigan, Jefferson, Fillmore and Bailey avenues.

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