Modified: February 28, 2020 2:40pm
Local Growers Celebrate National CSA Day by Releasing the Greater Buffalo Urban Growers Pledge
Buffalo, NY – As residents look forward to delicious local fruits and veggies this season, we should stop to appreciate the labor and resources that go into growing healthy crops in an urban setting. The potential health, social, environmental and economic benefits of urban farms and gardens are far-reaching, but there are also potential risks associated with growing food in urban settings. To formalize their commitment to growing safe foods, urban growers have partnered with the Food Policy Council of Buffalo & Erie County (FPC) to create the Greater Buffalo Urban Growers Pledge (GBUG): a series of best management practices with regard to soil safety, environmental protection, and other safe farming practices under the guidance of healthy soil experts from Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Knowing your farmer and their practices is the best assurance that the food you buy is responsibly grown with methods that honor the safety of producers, consumers, and environment. While risk exists no matter where our food comes from, these practices adopted by urban growers can keep potential risks to a minimum.
“Erie County commends the Greater Buffalo Urban Growers for taking this initiative,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Their actions encourage continued collaboration of government, community organizations and the people we serve and move us closer to a stronger, more productive, socially responsible and transparent food system.”
Hannah Shayler from Cornell University’s Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities initiative said, “With this Pledge, urban growers are proactively taking steps to ensure the health of their soils and their community by committing to transparency and best practices in an inspiring and novel way that we have not yet seen in many cities.”
“The Erie County Department of Health recognizes the relationship between an equitable food system, economic opportunity and the community’s health,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “A healthy diet is among the best chronic disease prevention strategies. And when the health of a community’s residents improves, everyone benefits.”
“By developing and signing on to this pledge, growers agree to be a collaborative force in building a stronger more transparent and inclusive healthy food system in Buffalo and Erie County,” said Allison Dehonney, chair of the Buffalo and Erie County Food Policy Council. “The growers doing this very important work strive to provide healthy and locally grown produce to the community daily.”
Farmers who commit to the GBUG Pledge sign the Pledge annually, which they may then display for their customers. The GBUG Pledge is a voluntary commitment to follow the recommended guidelines set forth and is not considered a legal document. Those who sign the GBUG Pledge agree that customers may inspect their urban farm by appointment to observe that the farmer is adhering to the recommendations outlined in the GBUG Pledge.
As part of National CSA (Community-supported Agriculture) Day on February 28, representatives from the Erie County Department of Health, Food Policy Council of Buffalo & Erie County, founding GBUG Pledge signees and community partners gathered at the Massachusetts Avenue Project Farmhouse to officially sign the GBUG Pledge. Elected officials who attended the event included Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera and Buffalo Common Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about the GBUG Pledge can contact the Food Policy Council at FPC@erie.gov or (716) 858-4752.
Greater Buffalo Urban Growers Partners include: 5 Loaves Farm, African Heritage Food Coop, Brewster Street Farm, Common Roots Urban Farm, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Flat#12 Mushrooms, Food Policy Council of Buffalo & Erie County, Grassroots Gardens WNY, Groundwork Market Garden, Gro-Operative, Kubed Root, Massachusetts Avenue Project Urban Farm, Michigan Riley Farm, Promise Valley, Urban Fruits & Veggies, Vertical Fresh Farms, Westside Tilth Farm, and Wilson Street Urban Farm.
The Greater Buffalo Urban Growers is a group of local growers who are dedicated toward providing awareness of best practices for people who grow and eat food in city environments.
Are you an urban grower interested in the Greater Buffalo Urban Growers Pledge? Visit the Food Policy Council of Buffalo & Erie County at www2.erie.gov/fpc to sign today!