The urban farming community in Buffalo is growing stronger by the day. Adding to the ongoing momentum is a group of five women who have come together to form a WNY Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition (WNYYFC). The intention is to create stronger solidarity between these farmers (and others), in order to better collaborate, pool resources, share ideas, and network.
Another objective of WNYYFC is to help to diversify the WNY farming community.
“There are approximately two times more male farmers than female farmers, and most farmers are over fifty-five years old… only 3 percent are younger than thirty-five, meaning that few young people have decided to become farmers. Nearly all Buffalo Niagara farmers are white.” – Growing Together, University at Buffalo, 2014
“Supporting a new generation of working farms will require leadership and engagement by all generations of farmers,” said Bari Zeiger, of Healing Poem Farm, Java. “We welcome farmers of all ages who share this vision to join our chapter.”
It is becoming more widely known and accepted that the future of sustainable food is growing produce locally. This is also an excellent way to combat food deserts, such as Buffalo’s East Side, where it is harder to source healthy food options.
The farmers are working to ease the way for a new generation to enter into a field of work they believe is challenging, rewarding and important: feeding WNY.
Members of WNYYFC are looking to grow their membership, by helping others to embrace the rewarding culture and pastime of farming. While there has been a growing, healthy movement in the Buffalo urban farming sector, farming as a whole is not what it once was.
“The eight counties of WNY lost the greatest number of farms in all of New York State with a 19.3% decline from 2007 to 2017.” – A Profile of Agriculture in New York State, Office of the NYS Comptroller, 2019
There’s a lot of work to be done to get a more diverse landscape of farmers onboard with this initiative. The good news that this energized group is ready to spearhead the undertaking.
On Saturday, May 28, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, WNYYFC will be hosting a pre-launch event that will be held at Groundwork Market Garden, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. This farm tour and picnic potluck will be the first of several organizing meetings where they will work to formalize a WNY Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition.
- BYO plates, cutlery and blanket
- Bring a dish to pass
- Drinks provided
RSVP @ email@example.com
Founding Members (To build community and pool resources among the next generation of farmers in WNY):
- Laura Colligan – Dirt Rich Farm, Springville
- Bari Zeiger – Healing Poem Farm, Java
- Amy Barkly – Snowy Brook Farm, East Concord
- Kelly Schramm – Groundwork Market Garden, Buffalo
- Emma Smalley – Heritage Herd Farm, Belmont
Groundwork Market Garden | 1698 Genesee Street | Buffalo, NY 14211
“The hope is to create a network of support that provides both practical assistance and a community connection for young and beginning farmers (defined as a farmer who has been farming for fewer than 10 years).”