PUSH Lauches 19th St. Refugee & Community Garden

On Saturday, May 23rd at 10 AM at 92 19th Street, PUSH Buffalo celebrated the advent of Buffalo’s first and only community garden geared toward refugee families by hosting a ‘Gardener’s Breakfast”. Participating gardeners were on hand to kick-off what PUSH hopes will a be a replicable model of sustainable food production and community building. The 19th Street Refugee & Community Garden grew out of PUSH’s community-developed Healthy Neighborhood Concept Plan, a holistic strategy to combat vacant housing and lots as well as other deteriorating neighborhood conditions. The plan challenges residents to work together to improve their neighborhoods. Twelve families will share raised beds, including eight families who are refugees to Buffalo from Burma and Somalia. The garden will transform a once vacant lot on 19th Street into a vibrant hub of activity. “I am excited about a chance to work in the garden,” said Zaw Win, a West Side Resident. “I look forward to getting to know my neighbors better and growing my own food will help keep some of my costs down.” The Healthy Neighborhood Concept Plan also includes rain gardens, park upgrades, and street art in a calculated mixture of improving neighborhood functionality as well as beautification. The gardeners' breakfast was served by PUSH members and staff and all in attendance were able to see the hard work of the past year come to fruition. In addition to providing fresh, healthy food and the opportunity to meet potential friends, the garden will enable refugees to put down some “roots” in the community where they live, a key aspect of stabilizing neighborhoods.