Supporting Food Security
During the COVID-19 Health Crisis
Help ensure our community gardens continue to feed children, families, and elders during and after the COVID-19 crisis. Donate now so we can direct ship seeds and indoor growing materials to community gardeners for early sowing and seed starting in case our supply chain is disrupted.
As recently relayed by Dr. Samina Raja of the University at Buffalo Healthy Communities and Food Systems Lab, “The COVID 19 crisis is an unprecedented public health AND and an equity challenge for our community, the country and the globe. Though everyone will be impacted, some will be at greater risk, and some will have a harder time recovering from the health and non-health impacts of the crisis. Elders and those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to the health impacts of the virus. Elders cannot as readily acquire food to meet their needs. People who work within the food service sector of our food system, and are not paid sick leave, cannot afford to miss work. Families with children who depend on school lunches are wondering what tomorrow holds. People with no cars cannot easily drive from place to place to stockpile foods. People with no/few grocery stores in their neighborhoods are at a significant disadvantage, especially when restrictions on mobility are necessary for one’s own health or the health of one’s community.”
With over 100 community gardens in the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Grassroots Gardens plays a critical role in meeting food security needs for many residents who live in neighborhoods that have experienced systemic disinvestment of grocery stores. The majority of our lead neighborhood gardeners are seniors. We also have 30 school gardens in our network that serve children from pre-k through 12th grade. Many of the people who garden with us do so to provide food and care for themselves and their families. We train over 1,500 people annually in how to garden. This public health emergency threatens food security for those that are already vulnerable in our food system. As part of a community-based emergency response to this crisis, Grassroots Gardens WNY is asking for support to direct ship indoor seed starting materials (grow bags, soil, greenhouse trays, and fast-growing seeds as resources allow) to any Grassroots Gardener (school gardener or community gardener) who wants to participate in Grassroots’ Seeds for Spring campaign. If the health crisis worsens throughout April, we will also look at the ability to ship raised bed kits and deliver soil to support growing at home. Typically, we rely on local vendors for bulk purchase seedlings for our community gardens, as home growing equipment for indoor seed starting has been limited. However, building up a stock of seedlings for transplanting into our community gardens this spring, should our distribution plans fail, will ensure food continues to be grown this spring and summer as families’ deal with the health and economic impact of COVID-19. Gardeners who have experience growing seedlings indoors and moving out to cold frames in April will be encouraged to grow as many as they can for contribution to the community gardens or to give to their neighbors. It is our hope to grow another 3,000 seedlings through this collective effort in addition to the orders we have placed with our vendors.
We will also be developing health and safety guidance for use of the community gardens during COVID-19. Check back here soon for more information.
How You Can Help:
GGWNY Gardeners who wish to help grow seedlings should contact our office line at 716-783-9653 or via email at and indicate their willingness to grow extra seedlings. We'll provide you the needed materials to do so.
Local companies can assist by working with us to directly ship donated seed starting mix, grow bags and seeds to our community gardeners OR offering discounts for our material purchase. Contact us at 716-783-9653 to learn more.
Individuals can donate today to our Seeds for Spring campaign and we’ll be sure your donation supports investment of more material goods and edible plants in the community gardens come late spring so more families can be fed.
Greenhouses or nurseries (home or commercial) that would like to participate in Seeds for Spring through direct seedling donation can coordinate with us as well by emailing or by calling us at 716-783-9653. Assuming it is safe to collect donations in later spring, we will arrange to do so and distribute among our network.