By Thea Hassan:
The African American Cultural Center and Groundwork Buffalo have completed a community garden at 350 Masten Avenue.
Groundwork Buffalo’s Green Team repurposed the vacant lot into a teaching garden for the youth of the Cultural Center’s Jumpin’ Jambalaya Summer Program to learn and explore. The Green Team is composed of high school students from East High School, Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts (PS # 192), Grover Cleveland School, and South Park High School. Groundwork Buffalo, is an affiliate of Groundwork USA, trains interested students in environmental jobs.
The fenced in 5′ by 5′ foot community garden is filled with vegetables, grasses, perennials, shrubs, and a tree. It also features two raised vegetable beds and two raised perennial beds with zebra grass, Tiger Eye sumac, butterfly bushes, viburnum, red twig dogwood shurbs, Russian sage, and blueberry bushes.
“The plants were selected for creating a habitat for birds and butterflies and for the Little Sprouts, a garden-, nature-, and health and wellness-based program for youth ages 6-8 participating in the Center’s summer camp,” according to a press release from Groundwork Buffalo.
“I think it is a really nice garden,” Romni Randle, an 8-year-old Little Sprout said. “I like the vegetables that were planted and the butterflies that come into the garden.”
While constructing the garden, the Green Team learned lessons in landscape design, horticulture, grounds maintenance, team building, and project management.
“It was a hard task to overcome. It required us to work hard, give lots of effort, have lots of patience and a lot of strength. We kept going until it was done,” Michelle Rodgers a Green Team member said. “It was a great accomplish. It (the garden) was something I didn’t think I could do. It makes me very proud.”
With this project completed, the Green Team is now transforming Friends to the Elderly’s back lot area at 118 Utica St. into a cleaner, greener, and healthier space for the seniors.
Groundwork USA, is a group of not-for-profit, environmental businesses called Groundwork Trusts working with communities in conjunction with the National Parks Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to improve their environment, economy and quality of life through local action by getting people, business, government and other organizations involved in practical projects.
All photos from Groundwork Buffalo