A partnership between the the Buffalo Medical Campus (BNMC), Grassroots Gardens, the Massachusetts Avenue Project, and the Mulberry Street and Friends Block Club, has resulted in a new pergola addition at the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers (BFNC) Moot Senior Community Center. The site for this inspirational neighborhood project is in the heart of The Fruit Belt, where residents are now able to share in the healthy spoils of a garden, and the accompanying pergola.
This ongoing project is of utmost importance, because the East Side does not have access to readily accessible healthy foods – it is still considered a food desert at this point in time. But with the advent of community gardens, there are more and more people who have the ability to access the foods that they require to be healthy. This type of urban gardening and farming is considered to be “low hanging fruit” when talking about ways to empower the residents who are looking to access healthier food options. The prospect of a full fledge market is a heavy lift, which means that there needs to be an interim plan. These neighborhood gardens are part of that plan.
“Our seniors are proud of the garden that they planted and care for at the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers (BFNC) Moot Senior Community Center,” stated Daysi Ball, Assistant Director of Program Development & Senior Services Moot Community Center. “One thing that they always asked for was somewhere to sit and admire the natural beauty of the garden. Now the dream has come true. The seniors are looking forward to making the pergola beautiful and cozy.”
“The garden became an engaging collaborative project that provided fresh vegetables and a focus on health and wellness,” stated Ricardo I. Herrera, BFNC Executive Director. “Now, the garden with the addition of the pergola is a standout for all to see! We are very thankful and inspired by the work of Fruit Belt neighbors and the Mulberry Block Club for building the pergola with materials funded by the BNMC’s micro grant for Moots Community Garden.”
“We have been proud to partner with Daysi and the team at the Moot Center to help build raised garden beds and improve their outdoor space over the past several years, including the establishment of their weekly farmer’s market,” said Elizabeth Machnica, Healthy Communities Catalyst for the BNMC. “Most recently, we were pleased to provide funding to the Mulberry Street Block Club through our BNMC Spark micro-grant program for the pergola, providing needed shade for the seniors and other groups enjoying the lovely gardens and market. We look forward to continuing our partnership with these community groups.”
The new garden goes hand-in-hand with another initiative to bring healthier food options to neighborhoods labeled as “food desserts”. The garden joins Massachusetts Avenue Project’s MAP Mobile Market in providing fruits and vegetables to those in need. The Mobile Market is set up at the Moot Senior Center every Thursday from 10:00 am to Noon during June to October.
Ball added, “The mobile market operated by the Massachusetts Avenue Project and hosted by the BFNC and Mulberry Community Block club is a much-needed fresh food resource for the community and seniors.”