Massachusetts Avenue Project: Growing Green

Authored by: Robin Smircina

The photo above is the sign taken at Massachusetts Avenue Community Park as part of the Massachusetts community Project on December 3, 2019. MAP is a community not for profit organization in downtown Buffalo, that prepares Buffalo youth for the global job market by teaching them leadership skills and job readiness while they work on the urban farm, the Mobile Market, and the kitchen.

The Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) began on Buffalo’s West Side in 1992 (MAP 2019). MAP has developed many programs since the time of its inception, including its Growing Green Program which began as a way to “address the growing land vacancy, high youth unemployment, and food security needs of the community (MAP 2019 “Our History Par 1”).” MAP is also involved in the Good Food Buffalo Coalition, The Good Food Purchasing Program, is a member of the Crossroads Collective, and supports the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act (MAP 2019). 

With the completion of “The Farmhouse” in 2018, MAP is now better able to make sure more members of the community have access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant food (Streich 2018). The Farmhouse and Community Food Training Center also offers a learning kitchen where Buffalo’s youth learn nutrition education and cooperative food prep training (Streich 2018). Urban Roots also holds free classes at The Farmhouse to teach new and old gardeners how to make their gardens more sustainable (Queenseyes 2018).

MAP is also working with the city of Buffalo and Natural Up-cycling on a pilot program to collect food waste from businesses and eventually residents to help “reduce their waste stream (Williams 2019 par 2).” This program aligns with the way MAP works within its community to increase awareness about the environment. MAP works to provide opportunities for Buffalo’s youth where they can learn leadership skills and gain opportunities to advocate for change for the community and the planet (MAP 2019).

Urban Fruits and Veggies works with MAP and the University of Buffalo to provide a mobile produce market also known as “The UB Veggie Van” to deliver locally sourced produce to lower income neighborhoods in 32 communities around Buffalo (Queenseyes 2019). The Veggie Vans are part of a Research Study funded in part by the National Cancer Institute, and spans across several states including Ohio, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and New York (Hill 2019). The study is aimed at finding out if these delivery services actually make a difference in providing healthy alternatives in under-served communities (Hill 2018).

In short, in the “City of Good Neighbors” MAP is the ultimate “Good Neighbor” providing nutrition education and leadership opportunities for Buffalo’s youth; making sure the under-served communities have access to fresh, nutritious, affordable, and culturally relevant food; and making Buffalo a more sustainable and beautiful place to live.

References

MAP. 2019. “Our History.” https://www.mass-ave.org/history.

MAP. 2019. “Our Advocacy.” https://www.mass-ave.org/our-advocacy.

Hill, David. 2018. “UB awarded federal funding to expand research team’s successful Veggie Van program.” University of Buffalo, April 5, 2018. http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2018/04/010.html.

Hill, David. 2019. “Veggie Van study awards funding to nine partner mobile markets.” University of Buffalo, July 22, 2019. http://www.buffalo.edu news/releases/2019/07/022.html.

Queenseyes. 2019. “More Power to the Veggie Vans.” Buffalo Rising, July 23, 2019. https://www.buffalorising.com/2019/07/more-power-to-the-veggie-vans/.

Queenseyes. 2018. “2019 Winter Classes and Workshops with Urban Roots.” Buffalo Rising, December 30, 2018. https://www.buffalorising.com/2018/12/2019-winter-classes-and-workshops-with-urban-roots/.

Streich, Christine. 2018. “Foodies rejoice: Urban food hub opens in Buffalo.” WKBW Buffalo, December 14, 2018. https://www.wkbw.com/news/wny-development/foodies-rejoice-urban-food-hub-opens-in-buffalo

Williams, Deidre. 2019. “Buffalo set to expand food waste collection program.” Buffalo News, April 28, 2019. https://buffalonews.com/2019/04/28/buffalo-set-to-expand-food-waste-collection-program/.

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