Grassroots Gardens of Western New York is an independent 501c3 organization. We are a determined group of activists in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York who educate and lead committed neighborhood gardeners. Today’s organization resulted from the merger of two sister organizations: Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo and Greenprint Niagara. Read more about our Remembering Our Roots.
Today, Grassroots Gardens of Western New York operates as both an urban and trust and facilitator of leased land. With over 100 community and school gardens now in our network, we secure land in three different ways on behalf of the community. First, we hold master leases with the City of Buffalo and the City of Niagara Falls to connect community members to vacant land. Second, we work closely with the Buffalo Public School District and Niagara Falls City School District to create school gardens on their properties or nearby lots. Third, through the recognition of increased risk of losing our community green spaces to Buffalo-Niagara’s redevelopment, the organization became a land trust in 2016-2017. With the purchase of our first two gardens and more in the works, we are determined to conserve many of our long-standing community gardens.
However we connect to the land, we still employ a 100% community-driven model, whereby residents identify the need for a garden. All of our gardens are managed by community members, within a set of growing guidelines to ensure soil and food safety. The majority of our gardens are in areas of the cities that are food deserts, places where major grocery stores will not invest in the community, making easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables difficult. Our gardens meet a critical need for food access. Other gardens range from more passive "clean and green" spaces to highly active centers for cross- cultural connection, beautification and native plant restoration. Roughly 2,000 gardeners from nearly 30 cultural backgrounds participate in our network, collectively growing over 30,000 lbs. of fresh, free produce per year. We believe everyone deserves the bounty of a garden. As a stewardship organization, our goal is to offset the cost of soil, lumber, seeds, and seedlings for our member gardens. Unlike other community garden organizations, we do not charge any membership fees. We offer free workshops throughout the year so anyone who wants to learn to grow can do so.
Between 2017 and 2022, GGWNY is focused on fearless community and land conservation.
Our five-year strategic plan (click for pdf) includes these building
1) reaffirming our focus on people and community
2) continuing to support and nurture our network of community gardens
3) strengthening our commitment to land stewardship
4) redoubling efforts to tell the Grassroots Gardens story
5) working toward equity in our operations and in the community
6) strengthening existing partnerships and being open to new opportunities