The big day has finally arrived. Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) will be breaking ground on its $2M Farmhouse & Community Food Training & Resource Center next Wednesday, July 13 between 10am and 11am. The groundbreaking at 389 Massachusetts Avenue will be a real game changer for the West Side of Buffalo. The 11,000 square foot food and culinary center will quickly become an anchor and hub for residents, schools, community gardeners and organizations.
These types of organic (in many ways) initiatives tend to drive even larger conversations that ultimately begin to transform neighborhoods.
The Farmhouse will house MAP’s Growing Green program which employs 45-50 youth annually and trains them in urban agriculture and food justice issues. The goal of Growing Green is to create innovative and meaningful, training jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for disadvantaged youth and to increase healthy food access in Buffalo’s low-income neighborhoods.
In years to come, when people come to visit Buffalo, they will make stops at the Albright-Knox, Silo City, Larkinville, Canalside, and this new farmhouse/urban farming hub. By investing in our food systems, Buffalo is once again embarking upon a revolutionary process that will help to brand this city as green, health conscious, and inclusive. This initiative will seed additional spin-off projects on the West Side in years to come.
“This project would not be possible without the unwavering commitment and support we have received from our funders. Our new farmhouse will not only allow us to continue the work that we do in the City, it will also bring regional and national attention to Buffalo. The farmhouse is the first of its kind in Western NY and is poised to become a National model,” said Diane Picard, MAP’s Executive Director.
- Hub for food and agriculture-based education
- Resources and volunteer opportunities to Buffalo residents, schools, community gardeners and organizations
- A new indoor and outdoor training space
- A teaching kitchen
- A resource library
- Improved cold storage
- Home base for MAP’s Growing Green Program
The empowering organization and its Growing Green program have made giant waves in the community in numerous ways. After getting its start in 2008, the program has yielded tremendous results, many of which can not be readily seen:
- 96% of the high school seniors in MAP’s Growing Green program graduated on time
- 95% have gone onto college, often being the first person in their family to attend college
- MAP has provided jobs and training to over 650 low-income youth
- MAP has provided food nutrition based training to over 12,000 residents, school children and policymakers
- In 2015 alone, MAP sold over 30,000 lbs. of affordable, local, organic produce to over 3,600 low-income customers at 6 market sites across the city
With results like that, it’s easy to see why a super-sized farmhouse is so crucial to enhancing the programming. In an age, when poor food quality and food desserts equate to people living substandard lives, there could be no better charge than to get this community resource up and running.
Funding for the project includes the Junior League of Buffalo/Buffalo News, Rich Family Foundation, Wegmans, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, James H. Cummings Foundation, Assembly Member Sean Ryan, NYS Empire State Development, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the City of Buffalo, M&T Bank, Peter C. Cornell Trust, City Council Member David Rivera, Simple Gifts Fund, Children’s Foundation of Erie County, and individual donors.
For more information about MAP or the new Farmhouse, visit www.mass-ave.org.