On October 7th, 2014, MAP announced that we will expand our community footprint with the construction of The MAP Farmhouse & Community Food Resource Center adjacent to our urban farm at 389 Massachusetts Avenue. Project partners include the University at Buffalo’s Food Lab and Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, among others. Staff and supporters announced the partnership and invited everyone to “#BetheCarrot” for MAP by donating to MAP’s capital campaign and posting to social media why they support the Farmhouse project.
The $1 million Farmhouse project was given lift by an initial investment of $300,000 from the Junior League of Buffalo and the Buffalo News’ 2013 Decorators’ Show House competitive grant process. Well on its way to raising necessary funds, MAP has secured $150,000 from the Patrick Lee Foundation, as well as $100,000 through State Assemblymember Sean Ryan, $10,000 through City of Buffalo Common Councilmember David Rivera, and $28,000 from individuals and anonymous donors.
MAP’s Executive Director Diane Picard said: “The Farmhouse project will greatly expand MAP’s ability to produce food for the community and change the lives of young people, while creating new resources and educational opportunities. In small and big ways we work to reconnect people with food, not only as the thing that nurtures them, but as a foundation for making healthy, systemic and equitable change in our community. The Farmhouse will be a much needed hub where this work can happen.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown also attended the event, and said: “Access to nutritional food is something many people take for granted and I thank the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) for its continued commitment to improving access to healthy food options for all city residents, particularly those who live in low income neighborhoods.” Mayor Brown also commended MAP for teaching city youth about the value of urban farming through his summer youth employment program. “Improving access to healthy food is a critical component of building an equitable and sustainable food system and I look forward to working with MAP as it expands its presence in Buffalo by building a new Farmhouse and Community Resource.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “The Massachusetts Avenue Project has become an integral part of Buffalo’s West Side during the last twenty years. MAP’s work in our community has helped to turn vacant land into productive gardens and green space, while at the same time opening up job opportunities for youth living on the West Side. All of this work has helped to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to West Side families who need access to healthy and affordable food choices. MAP’s new Farmhouse and Community Food Center will be an exciting addition to the West Side and I am pleased to have helped secure much needed funding from New York State to help make this project a reality.”
City of Buffalo Common Council Member David Rivera said: “The Farmhouse is the next piece in the puzzle to making the West Side and Buffalo a more equal and just community. As we create more quality affordable housing, improve streets and sidewalks, and revitalize our neighborhood parks, we also need to bring along the improvement of access to fresh, healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. MAP and the Farmhouse will help increase access to good food.”
Terri Parsell Hilmey, President of Junior League of Buffalo, said: “The Junior League of Buffalo was proud to award its proceeds from our 2013 Decorators’ Show House, The Knox Farm Summer Estate, to the Massachusetts Avenue Project. We raised $300,000 through the efforts of all our JLB members, community volunteers, craftsmen, decorators, and the more than 25,000 guests who came to visit the Show House and enjoy the experience. MAP’s project fits well into JLB’s focus on “Female Head of Household Living in Poverty,” by providing fresh vegetables, healthy food and nutrition education to areas of the City where they might not otherwise be available. MAP’s commitment, enthusiasm, good planning and presentation swayed our members to vote in their favor, and we look forward with great anticipation to watch their project move forward.”
Mark O’Donnell, Executive Director of The Patrick Lee Foundation said: “The Patrick P. Lee Foundation is excited to be a part of the Massachusetts Avenue Project to build a new Farmhouse. Our board of directors were impressed with the organization’s history of getting the neighborhood residents involved in the urban farm and generating jobs for the young people of the community. We believe that the new Farmhouse will enhance the ability of the Massachusetts Avenue Project organization to continue to provide fresh, healthy and affordable food to the community and jobs to its youth.”
MAP would like to extend a special thank you to Andy Farber who made the huge shiny orange carrot thermometer in front of the farmhouse, Prish Moran at Sweetness 7 for her donation of coffee, scones and muffins for the event, Carolyn Human for her press advice and expertise, Barbara Rowe & Peter Sowiski of Abaca Press for the discounted t-shirts, George Iannello of Advanced Graphics for discounted printing, Mari McNeil for designing our Farmhouse brochures, Meg Knowles & Squeaky Wheel for the sound system, and Gail Graham for prettying up the front of our property for the event.
Anyone can support the Farmhouse project by donating to MAP’s capital campaign and posting to social media why they support the Farmhouse project by using the hashtags #BetheCarrot or #IamtheCarrot. Donations can be made online at helpMAPgrow.org or by calling 716.249.0627.