Providence Farm Collective (PFC) – a non-profit farming initiative for black, immigrant, refugee, and low-income farmers – is steadily growing by the day.
Now, as a way to speed up that growth, the Western New York Land Conservancy (WNYLC) and PFC have announced a new $275,000 matching gift towards their joint capital campaign – “Plant the Future of Farming.”
Did you know that there are upwards of 300 black, immigrant, refugee, and low-income farmers who live in Buffalo, and who grow food for their families and their communities at a 37-acre farm in Orchard Park?
There is a new movement afoot, to provide resources for disadvantaged people to farm lands, thus creating boundless opportunities to live healthier, prouder, more sustainable and secure lives.
One example of these heralded efforts can be seen with the launch of a new Saturday farmer’s market on Grant Street, operated by PFC farmers (learn more). PFC also provides incubator farms and offers summer youth employment programs.
To date, the campaign has already raised nearly $1 million towards the goal.
In order to access the matching gift, $2.3 million must be raised by the end of the year, which is why WNYLC and PFC are reaching out to the community for assistance. To date, the campaign has already raised nearly $1 million towards the goal.
As we are aware, one of the best ways to get healthy, wholesome foods into the hands of underserved communities – considered food deserts – is to grow that food in the community, for the community. Once the capital campaign is successful, PFC will purchase the farm that they currently lease. The funding will also allow the farmers to build facilities and purchase equipment that they need to be successful in the longterm.
Once the $2.3 million goal is met, Providence Farm Collective will:
- Purchase the farm that they currently lease
- Add needed facilities
- Create a farmer directed endowment
- Sustain the farm into the future
A successful campaign will also allow the WNYLC to place a conservation easement on the farm, protecting it forever as farmland.
The matching gift funds are from a host of foundations and individuals, including Save on SP, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Dedrick Family Foundation administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Garman Family Foundation administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Stephen Still and Terrie Tucker, Joe and Lynne Giroux, and the Black Harvest Fund.
Dao Kamara, Community Engagement Coordinator for PFC, said “Planting the Future of Farming is very important to refugees, immigrant and under-resource farmers in Western New York. Its success means access to farmland to build farm businesses. It means this farm will be permanently protected for agriculture. Farmers like me will have a place to call home where we can grow culturally relevant crops, feed community members, and foster connections through shared traditions with our families.”
Providence Farm Collective started in 2017 as a grassroots effort by the Somali Bantu community to get back to their farming roots and grow fresh food.
“Now more than ever it is imperative that we support fresh local food growers like PFC farmers,” said Nancy Smith, Executive Director of the Land Conservancy. “But it takes a community coming together to make this campaign successful. We are immensely grateful for these gifts. They are a strong show of support for the role PFC farmers are playing in providing a just, equitable, and sustainable business model to farm here in Western New York.”
The Dedrick Family Foundation said “We have been so impressed by the work that the farmers of Providence Farm Collective are doing to nourish their families, and the wider WNY community, with sustainably grown produce. PFC’s partnership with the Land Conservancy proves that this grassroots organization is continuing to orient itself towards resilience; not only the resilience of the farmers and their families, but also the health and longevity of the land they are working. We are excited to support PFC’s entrepreneurial spirit and creative thinking with this grant, and sincerely hope that other donors will be inspired to join us.”
PFC has now grown to encompass refugees from multiple nations and members of the Black community.
“The Providence Farm Collective / Western New York Land Conservancy partnership is the best example I’ve seen of a concrete, workable solution to help Black, Immigrant, Refugee, and low-income farmers,” said Natalie Baszile of the Black Harvest Fund, who is also a renowned author and filmmaker. “Their work has yielded tangible results and should be a model for Land Conservancies across the country. I continue to be inspired by PFC’s vision and am honored to support them.”
“The Land Conservancy is doing truly inspiring and impactful work in our community,” said Stephen Still, who contributed to the matching gift with his partner, Terrie. “The planned Western New York Wildway, The Riverline, restoring the Niagara Gorge—all these projects contribute to better, healthier outcomes for the people of Western New York. Since Providence Farm Collective helps to provide more opportunities for Black, immigrant, and refugee farmers in our region, the Land Conservancy’s joint campaign with PFC is yet another example of this impact. My partner and I are honored to support this worthy cause.”
The Land Conservancy and Providence Farm Collective is in need of donations of all sizes in order to Plant the Future of Farming. Every dollar donated now will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $275,000.
To make a donation, visit: www.wnylc.org/providence-farm-collective, or send a check made payable to “Western New York Land Conservancy” to P.O. Box 471, East Aurora, NY 14052. Please call or email if you have questions: (716) 687-1225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.