Healthy Victory: Highlighting our Collaborative Partnership with the Foundry, GroundWork Market Garden, African Heritage Food Co-Op, and YouthBuild of the Service Collaborative of WNY

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Healthy Victory: Highlighting our Collaborative Partnership with the Foundry, GroundWork Market Garden, African Heritage Food Co-Op, and YouthBuild of the Service Collaborative of WNY

As year three of BNMC’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC) grant from New York State Department of Health comes to a close this September, the Healthy Communities team celebrates this past year’s successes.

Over the past year, our group has collectively worked on a project that not only increases access to healthy affordable foods for residents in East Buffalo, but does so through a community-driven approach that builds neighborhood capacity and social capital.

Identifying the Problem

In BNMC’s work as part of the CHSC grant to increase healthy food access in communities throughout the city of Buffalo, it was apparent both food consumers and producers in East Buffalo face significant challenges. Residents experience a complex environment of societal, social, and health disparities that are especially amplified among people of color, all while residing in neighborhoods largely void of easily accessible grocery stores with affordable fresh foods. These conditions existed in the context of a food environment where some urban farmers struggled to connect with nearby neighbors, establish a farm stand, and find efficient models for transporting their harvests, on top of all the other challenges farmers already face.

Developing a Solution

BNMC identified a collaborative opportunity to merge both consumer and producer needs: The Farm Stand Project. The Farm Stand Project brings together GroundWork Market Garden, African Heritage Food Co-Op, The Foundry, YouthBuild, and BNMC to build mobile farm stands that bring locally grown fresh foods to residents who need it most.

By partnering with The Foundry and YouthBuild, the farm stands for GroundWork Market Garden and African Heritage Food Co-op were designed and built by community members who come from the neighborhoods the stands will serve. Every Friday morning from 9am-12pm from January 2018 through July 2018, the youth met at The Foundry and worked with professional carpenters and welders to build the farm stands. While the stands are currently undergoing finishing touches, the team aims to start using them as soon as possible for the current 2018 growing season.

The BNMC Healthy Communities Team has two more years (until September 2020) to continue its CHSC work supporting healthier communities throughout the city of Buffalo.

About The Foundry

The Foundry is a nonprofit small business incubator in East Buffalo that includes a makerspace, woodshop, metal shop, tech lab, textile lab, and also offers classes to the public. In addition to their daily operation, they also partner with the Service Collaborative of WNY’s YouthBuild program, which provides at-risk or low-income youth the opportunity to complete their education, earn their GED, and learn in-demand job skills while taking part in community revitalization projects.