Two Rochester organizations receive grants for environmental justice work

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Two Rochester organizations were among 32 community-based organizations to receive state grants to support their environmental justice work.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation on Tuesday announced that they would provide $3.1 million in funding to groups that work to address equality when it comes to environmental issues like pollution, food insecurity, and flooding.

Taproot Collective will use the funding for ‘Gardening Together’ — a new program aimed at identifying sustainability in urban gardens. The organization will get nearly $100,000 from the state.

Rochester Refugee Resettlement received just under $100,000. That money will be used to teach students of refugee families the risks of eating harmful and toxic fish species.

The money comes from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund.

These grants are one step in the state’s environmental justice efforts, which include the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The act requires the state to invest resources to ensure that disadvantaged communities receive at least 35% of the benefits from the state’s clean or efficient energy programs.

In July, the state signed three laws to promote employment in the renewable energy industry and support the climate act. The state is also working to create a map of the communities most vulnerable to climate change. The first draft shows that Rochester’s inner city and parts of Greece along Lake Ontario are very vulnerable.