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WNY GOING GREEN: GRASSROOTS GARDENS

Wednesday, 12.09.2009 / 1:43 PM / Blue & Gold Make Green
By Jackie Lewandowski  - Graduate Assistant (2009)
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WNY GOING GREEN: GRASSROOTS GARDENS
The Buffalo Sabres Blue & Gold Make Green initiative has worked to improve sustainability and recycling within the organization over the last year. Now, the Sabres are asking the fans to reduce their environmental footprint.

Throughout the year, sabres.com will feature a local cause dedicated to making Western New York a “greener” place, and showing fans in the area how to incorporate conservation in their daily lives.

Take a look at this week’s profile on GrassRoots Gardens of Buffalo


(Photo: Grass Roots Gardens of Buffalo)
Even as the snow is falling this winter, GrassRoots Gardens doesn’t want Buffalo residents to forget their backyard.

Founded in 1992 by J. Milton Zeckhauser, organization was established to support the development of community gardens throughout the city.

“We want to promote a healthier and greener Buffalo,” Zoe Lavatelli, Community Garden Coordinator said.  “Community gardens provide numerous benefits including better property values and lower crime rates and we want that for our city.”

Now a family affair, Zeckhauser’s daughters serve as Board Members and are working to continue their father’s goals. The organization now focuses on distressed neighborhoods that could use beautification, working throughout the city of Buffalo to focus on low-income communities.

In addition to helping communities build gardens, GrassRoots Gardens of Buffalo works to provide community members with the material support to build their own gardens.  They provide soil, plant material, seeds, and seedlings to those who wish to plant on their own vacant lots.  

“We have a lot of volunteers asking to keep-up gardens that we have already built,” Lavatelli said.  “Therefore we work to help provide them with those materials to help continue our efforts in those areas.”

The growing period in Western New York differs each year depending upon the weather. With the hot summers and cold winters, the typical growing period begins in late May and ends in September. However the work does not stop as the snow starts falling. In fact, Grass Roots Gardens of Buffalo promotes simple projects that can be done during the winter months.

Lavatelli said gardeners can add materials, such as compost and wood chips, to their gardens that better its quality and prepare it for the upcoming growing period.

This winter, GrassRoots Gardens of Buffalo is teaming up with the Student Conservation Association of Buffalo to help community gardeners.  Students will build compost bins throughout the community and help others to build them as well.  

Members of the community are also encouraged to help out all year round, and can attend free workshops courtesy of Urban Roots.  To help with these or other future projects, click here for contact information and maps of gardens in your area.  

For tips on how to “green” your life, join the Sabres Green Team by clicking here.

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