Friday, May 1, 2009

Our Project: Public Presentation of Preliminary Findings

Public Presentation of Preliminary Findings

When: Tuesday, May 5th at 5:30
Where: Room 230, Hayes Hall, University at Buffalo South Campus
What: Queen City Gardens group will present its preliminary findings on planning and policy strategies for creating and sustaining community gardens in the City of Buffalo.  This presentation will highlight the preliminary findings of the Queen City Gardens Plan prepared by graduate students in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo for the City of Buffalo Task Force on Community Gardens. Following the presentation, attendees will be invited to provide suggestions for incorporation into the final report. 

Feedback is gladly welcomed!

Hope to see you there!

Please note that this is the first of two presentations by the Queen City Gardens graduate student group. Date for the second presentation will be announced in the next few days.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Our Project: Community Outreach Agenda

Our Project: Community Meeting Notes

(Set up)Here is a transcript of what the participants had to say at our community meeting:

(Intro from Dr. Raja)
In one word, what is your vision for your neighborhood?
Multicultural        Supportive       Crime-free        leaders       beautiful      sustainable      pride colors    resurgent     community     communalism     hopeful     jobs      food    resources     clean  education    a center      enjoyable      friendly      where I will live the rest of my life

What do you like about the outdoor environment in your neighborhood?
Garden Week     Street Trees     Vacant Property Potential       Birds     Good Neighbors     Walkability     Butterflies       Historic Architecture       Squirrels     Multicultural       Parks     Water       Mulberry Trees        Oak Trees        Lilacs          Kids Playing Outside       Shops                      Diversity in Growing

What would you change about the outdoor environment in your neighborhood?
Not enough Shopping       Property Neglect     Bad Neighbors     Less Parking on Greenspace/ More Parking for neighborhoods        More Private Ownership     Less Crime      Not Enough Street Trees      Want to See Property Well-Maintained    More Places for Teens    More Palces for Parents     More Place For Kids    Less Absentee Landlords    Less Toxicity     MAKE IT FUN   Less Potholes     Improve Public Transportation     More Color     More Focus on Immigrants    Street Performers      More Snow Shoveling by Individuals      More Investment in Abandoned Corridors     More Affordable Housing

Mapping of all Gardens          Connection with Universities        Retention of Seniors     Getting workers and extra help        Getting children involved       Grant Money      Relationship/collaboration forming       Pass on Trees and Shrubs      Grate lots in neighborhoods       Water Access         Legal issues (Zoning liability)      Publicity/knowledge         Regional relationships          Prison seed starting          Connections with Cornell Extension/ Olmsted Conservancy       Equipment from City       Petty Politics       Utilizing components of other city projects (reuse of materials)      community day-city resources        Collaboration with Public works         Security         Fence or no fence debate         Fence Chances dynamics     Collaborating with commercial gardeners      Sharing of Resources and Plants     Center for compost sharing       meeting points for sharing      Bulk cost sharing       Purpose of garden

Break Out Groups:

What is a Community Garden?
-A Central Part of a community where activities can be done together
-Outdoor space to live
-Shared space with vegetation
-Ownership-community initiated
-Active living-wellness and nutrition
-Can be just an open green space
-Food Source

-Successful gardens are a collective effort to flip neighborhoods and combat crime and issues of race 
-Neighborhood upkeep
-Plant theft happened, but the neighborhood got involved in a "True Crime Watch" to protect garden
-Get to know your neighbors
-Children learn- once they learn how to grow and upkeep a property, they will never forget
-Venue for learning
-open to anyone, kids experts- broad range of people and very inclusive
-Senior citizens are key players and gardens act as a tool to get them out onto the streets
-One garden took bits of other seniors' personal gardens and planted them in the communal one
-Multigenerational hub

-not a textbook approach, but a working approach to gardens
-no pipedreams
-short on leaders- many get burnt out
-young people aren't involved
-Volunteers from out of neighborhoods are taxing to maintain and disconnected from the surroundings
-Gardens are very positive as long as well maintained
-Gardens without water sources

-Water lines
-Soil testing
-Permit for Lands
-Land Trust
-Money and equipment
-paid gardeners
-strong outreach
-Change of City's archaic laws

Final definition:
   Community Gardens are community centers for social and public activities that are dynamic, diverse, educational, shared and green which promote health and well-being. 

Orange Group:
What is a community garden?
-shared space sustained by local community
-civic center spot
-place to learn
-creating roots
-feeling of place
-PRIDE- sense/relation to area/belonging
-FUN: dinners, music, BBQ, cooking/shared needs
-reclaiming vacant/under-utilized lands
-community sharing/leadership
-fresh food
-epicenter/shared space for cultural diversity and education
-sense of ownership for community connection
-citizens taking back vacant lots to grow food, flowers and have fun

What are the needs?
-access to water
-blog: share ideas/information with out meetings
-sign on lot to explain what is going on
-be more walkable/inviting central location
-city to invest time, effort and energy to embrace gardens
-less government/city intervention and interference
-zoning codes to allow gardening, access to water to be able to have more farming
-more public support and help gardens catch on
-advertise gardening efforts
-legitimize gardens
-lease structure (long term)..create land bank

A garden is a shared space to invigorate communalism, recreation, beautification, and pride without prejudice. 

Green Group:
-Gardens encourage companionship
-Teach kids to like bugs
-gardens are a site of entertainment-concerts, place to eat lunch- specifically referring to garden by Tri-Main building
-Service learning- for people of all ages- range from grade school to college
-Gardens also have benefits for people with learning disabilities and are handicapped
-encourage community activities
-gardens have music activities that bring people out

-more involvement needed
-better communication
-get various groups to volunteer
-some problems with vandalism
-people take veggies that don't help to harvest
-more people visit and volunteer
-ongoing collaboration

-use raised beds when soil is contaminated
-growing senior citizen population that could service gardens
-potential for program to bring together grandparents and grandchildren
-encourage engagement from Mayor's Junior Impact Team to do heavier work in gardens
-Whatever city digs up should be recycled into garden reuse program
-Business donations
-Economy could encourage people to grow veggies
-gardens can have a special section for kids to grow

Place for neighbors to come together producing fresh food with a greater sense of community and to establish friendships. Everyone shares in the garden and it is a place to be proud of.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Project: Visioning from the Flapjack Breakfast

A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to gather some insight at the MAP Flapjacks for the Farm pancake breakfast. Here's what we gathered!

What Does Community Gardening Mean to You?
1. A sustainable future
2. I've never done it, but I imagine a lot of pretty gardens in the city and a sunny place where I can hang out with friends and meet new people.
3. Hard work, weeding and sun
4. Making use of otherwise fallow land
5. Sharing the Earth's bounty
6. Apple orchards- all kinds... NY is an apple state!
7. Opportunities for urban residents to garden and grow food
8. Arbor Day- check out their website for good ideas!
9. Grow hazelnut trees
10. Fig trees!
11. Check out the Local Harvest website!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our Project: Table of Contents

Below is a the table of contents for our upcoming report. The class has chosen groups to tackle each section. A brief description of what the groups are working on will be posted soon!

1.  Executive Summary
2. Introduction/Problem Statement
i. What is community gardening and urban agriculture?
ii. History of community gardening?
iii. Types of community gardens/urban agriculture models
iv. Why community gardening/urban ag? Benefits of community gardening/urban ag.
v. Purpose of this report
vi. Layout of this report
3.  Methodology; data sources; limitations
4. Current state of and demand for community gardens in Buffalo
i. Establish a baseline of need/demand
ii. Brief description of Buffalo's overall food system (with special emphasis on urban food production)
iii. Inventory of existing community gardens
iv. Review of regulatory mechanisms (zoning, laws, codes) and legislation that enable or limit urban ag and community gardens
5. Case Studies of Best Practices
6. Recommendations
7. References
8. Resource Guide (web resources, funding sources, sample legislation language)
9. Appendices

Friday, March 20, 2009

Our Project: Flapjack Pictures!

Our Project: Community Meeting

Queen City Gardens would like to thank everyone who attended our meeting last night! Great ideas and stories were shared. This information will be included in our report and provides the document with the voice of the community.

The notes and pictures will be posted very soon, so make sure to check back!

If you couldn't make it or have more to add, we would still like any input you would like to give us! Please send comments, questions and ideas to!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grow Buffalo: CSA in the News!

An article was posted on about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Western New York. The basic premise of CSA is that community members buy shares of harvests from local farms. This helps with supporting the costs of food production to the farmer while supplying healthy, locally grown food to the consumer. The article claims that because of the declining economy, the interest in local CSAs has increased.

Full Article Here

Grow Buffalo: Buffalo Common Council Annual Action Plan

The Buffalo Common Council Annual Action Plan for 2008-2009 has listed increasing the number of community gardens in the City of Buffalo as one of their planning initiatives. The excerpt is below:

Grow the Number of Community Gardens in Buffalo

Experience has shown that community gardens that are incorporated into neighborhood streetscapes can become lasting community assets. When properly maintained, gardens can bring great vale to the community at large and act as a catalyst for getting residents involved in their neighborhood.

The time, effort and collaboration that goes into creating and maintaining community gardens can foster an increased sense of pride and ownership in one's community. These green spaces can also provide a venue for education, recreation and relaxation for neighborhood residents, promote environmental awareness and potentially become a source of fresh produce.

The Common Council supports inclusion of Community Gardens in the City's Strategic Planning efforts and encourages the Administration to set aside adequate funding to assist with their planning, creation and maintenance. The Council additionally recommends that the Administration look for opportunities to collaborate with the business community, non-profit groups and Buffalo's many Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to identify opportunities for including amenities such as benches, children's play areas and artwork to these gardens to beautify them and add to their value to the community. 

Our Project: Definitions of Community Gardens

"To me, a community garden is a shared space where neighbors can cultivate the land to meet their community's needs, whether it be to beautify with flowers and plants, to supplement nourishment for families with fruit and veggies or simply to provide a clean, common space to congregate and interact with one another." ~ QCG member Danielle R

"Any piece of land gardened by a group of people" ~ American Community Gardening Association

"'Community Garden' shall mean public or private lands upon which citizens of the state have the opportunity to garden on lands which they do not individually own." ~ New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, Article 2-C Section 31-g

Community Gardens "..are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access and management, as well as typically owned in trust by local governments or nonprofits." ~Ferris, J., Norman, C. & Sempik, J. 

Our Project: Community Outreach Flyer

Click on the flyer for a larger image!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our Project: Fantastic Flapjacks!

Queen City Gardens would like to thank MAP for letting us set up a couple easels at their Flapjacks for the Farm pancake breakfast last Saturday. The event was great and the pancakes were delicious! Everyone had a wonderful time and we attained valuable information that will be posted soon!


First of all, thanks for visiting our blog! The Queen City Gardens crew decided to utilize this outlet as another method of community outreach. We want to keep the public aware of the task we are doing, as well as being a resource on community gardens. 

Posts will be divided into three sections- "Our Project", "Growing Buffalo" and "Examples to Follow". Research that we have conducted as well as information on meetings and events that Queen City Gardens is involved in will be posted under "Our Project." "Growing Buffalo" will be posts with resources on the community gardens and other organizations that the City of Buffalo has. "Examples to Follow" will be posts on gardening projects that have been successes around the world. 

If you have any questions, comments or helpful tips, please e-mail us at

Thank you!
~Queen City Gardens