A walk on the West Side of the city is always an adventure. Not only are there new projects popping up all of the time, some of the established projects continue to morph. Take People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) and its efforts to “green” these neighborhoods.
Near the corner of Rhodes Island and 14th Street, there is a rather large plot of land that started off as a tree farm. Saplings were grown on the site in order to provide the West Side with readily available, less expensive trees that would eventually be transplanted elsewhere.
Today the tree farm has been converted into a garden center for the refugee community (primarily), who are accustomed to growing their own food. On any given day, the site attracts villagers who come to plant, tend and reap their harvest. All together, there are 27 plots that are provided to families so that they can cultivate their own food. Along with the garden beds, there is also a picnic shelter with a green roof that is able to harvest rainwater. That means that there is no more need to tap into the City’s water resources (fire hydrant permits) to irrigate the crops.
This sustainable project is just one of many that we are seeing popping up in Buffalo. What were once “dead” lots are now full of life. The gardens yield food sources, second as beautification measures, are environmentally sensitive, and create a place where the community can come together in a social setting.