One of the side benefits of throwing urbanist inspired festivals is the final takeaway, or in the case of The Flutterby Festival, the leave behinds. Aside from some outstanding murals, I was able to work with a number of eco-minded organizations that helped to beautify Elmwood Avenue in a number of ways. For example, for years I have been hoping that 7-Eleven (near the corner of Elmwood and Summer) would clean up its act in the neighborhood. Last year a buddy of mine cleaned up around the convenience store, knowing that they will never take responsibility for the filth that they continue to generate, from cigarette packages to lottery tickets (see the mess).
A year before that cleanup, I wrote about 7-Eleven’s tree bed that had become a cesspool filled with litter and muck – it’s been that was for as long as I can remember. So when Jeanette Koncikowski, Executive Director of Grassroots Gardens WNY, told me that she wanted the organization to have a presence at the festival, this little tree plot came to mind. And yes, it is little, but it is such a huge eyesore that I knew the impact would be profound… and maybe, just maybe, we can collectively find a way to keep this newly beautified parcel looking nice, although 7-Eleven and entropy seem to go hand-in-hand.
In order for Grassroots Gardens to create community gardens, large or small, the organization needs buy-in from neighbors, or they won’t commit the time and the resources to the project. Since we’re likely to not get any buy-in from 7-Eleven, I’m hoping that a couple of folks who live across the street will keep an eye on the garden. I will also add this corner to my dog walking route, and will be sure to bring a small broom and a jug of water along, to extend this miraculous glory for as long as possible.
It’s sad that a corporation of this size can’t be a better neighbor – according to Wikipedia, “Its parent company since 2005, 7-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., operates, franchises, and licenses 68,236 stores in 17 countries as of June 2019.” One would think that a chain that size would have some “good neighbor” policies, but apparently this particular 7-Eleven feels that the nearby residents should clean up after the convenience shop, instead of the other way around. So much for being a good neighbor… at least we have stalwart organizations such as Grassroots Gardens that are able to come to the rescue! It’s groups like this that give Buffalo the deserved name – City of Good Neighbors. It would be great if 7-Eleven got the memo. And hopefully the City plants a tree in this location come fall. I suppose that it’s time to call 311!