BUFFALO, NY - No intersection on Buffalo's Upper West Side is perhaps more well-named then the one at the corner of West Avenue and West Delavan. And it's here, in the middle of winter, on empty lots purchased at a city foreclosure auction, that something is growing.
Not just in the ground, but also among the people who live here.
"An attitude, especially on the west side of Buffalo that we don't need to wait for the city, we don't need to wait for the government to fix our city, to make our city a better place," says Matt Kauffman.
Like many on the west side, Kauffman is a transplant to Buffalo.
After moving here two and a half years ago, he saw the success of urban farming in other parts of the city and decided to bring it to his new neighborhood, starting with a community garden for students in an after school program at the Vineyard Church, many of whom are refugees.
Iani Dunbar, the Grace After School Program Coordinator says, "They already know how to grow things and how to harvest things, cause that's what they were doing. But obviously it's in a little bit different landscape, different climate, very different experience."
But the results were the same; a flourishing garden.
It did so well the first year that it's grown larger. Now a mission of the church called 5 Loaves Farm. Two hoop houses donated by a local business owner allow farming here year-round.
"The one we're standing in, we're growing greens for Tapestry Charter School. We're growing spinach and salad mix that's used in their cafeteria," says Kauffman.
This time of year it's only enough to supplement the food used in the cafeteria.
But during the summer and fall, 5 Loaves Farm produces enough vegetables to meet the entire needs of the school and donate more to area soup kitchens.
Half a dozen regular volunteers worked the farm last year and more are welcome this spring.
You can find out more on the 5 Loaves Farm Facebook page.
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