I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Grassroots Gardens WNY (GGWNY) is one of the most important urbanist organizations in Buffalo, for myriad reasons. Grassroots Gardens is in the business of converting vacant urban lots into lush, productive oases that benefit neighborhoods all over the city. You can barely walk a block on the west side of the city without encountering a Grassroots Garden. Each one is specifically designed to represent the neighborhood that it inhabits. Some of the gardens are filled with flowers, while others are dedicated to urban farming practices. No matter the function, each of the gardens helps to beautify a neighborhood, which increases property values, brings neighbors closer together, and even helps to prevent crime.
What started off as a way to clean up derelict urban lots, and give back to communities, has now gone much, much further. Not only has GGWNY expanded its reach, it has also partnered with a number of other regional organizations to amplify the inspirational undertaking.
“We have a number of exciting initiatives continuing in the 2019 season,” noted Executive Director Jeanette Koncikowski. “We’ll be adding two more market gardens to our network, growing our outreach and community engagement in Niagara Falls, and continuing to train the Fresh Food Fellows, an urban agriculture fellowship program for youth ages 17-24 with Groundwork Buffalo and Field and Fork Network. We’re also forming a community-wide task force to address accessibility and universal design in the gardens so that everyone in our community can participate in the gardens. This is building on a partnership we started this past year with ARC of Erie County. We’re also exploring funding for therapeutic gardening as we know gardening improves mental health in addition to physical health. Lastly, we’ll continue to strengthen our capacity and internal operations to prepare for our application to become an accredited land trust with the Land Trust Alliance.”
Now do you see why it’s so important that we support the organization? But how do we go about supporting GGWNY? According to Koncikowski, one of the best, and most delicious ways, to help the cause is to attend an upcoming Pie Raffle at Big Ditch Brewing.
“Every season, Grassroots Gardens WNY provides about $10,000 in lumber, $10,000 in soil and compost and $12,000 in seeds, vegetable and herb seedlings, and fruit trees to our community garden network,” said Koncikowski. “We can only do this through the generous support of our donors and partners. This year’s Pie Raffle (lead image) will be raising funds for the 30 school gardens in our network; 27 in Buffalo and 3 in Niagara Falls. Our school gardeners range from preschool age through 12th grade. Grassroots Gardens also employs a School Garden Coordinator, Mr. Greg, who works closely with teachers and students to help them learn about urban agriculture and the environment.”
GGWNY 3rd Annual Pie Raffle
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
5:30 PM – 8 PM
Big Ditch Brewing Company | 55 E Huron Street | Buffalo, New York 14203
$20 tickets per person | $1 pie raffle tickets
Two beers, and appetizers, with admission
Tickets also available at the door