Sustainability in Action 2015
Date & Time:
Sunday, August 1 / 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Please note that the date in the Open Garden Book is incorrect. The correct date is Saturday, August 1st.
Via school bus with bathroom stops at noon and 2:00 p.m. No air conditioning.
$35, includes roundtrip transportation, tour guides, and a box lunch
If you have any questions or problems ordering tickets, please e-mail Mary Van Vorst.
Your receipt from PayPal will include informsation on
shipping, returns, etc. Please ignore this, as this is a digital ticket
and nothing will be shipped or returned.
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus parking lot
589 Ellicott Street
at Goodell Street
While the city of Buffalo continues to finalize its new
Green Code, many innovative projects have already been undertaken in the
city, showcasing more effective strategies for taking care of our
environment. From a simple community-based rooftop garden to a million
dollar project on Lake Erie, Buffalo is committed to reclaiming the
space of our industrialized and not-so-environmentally-friendly past.
Join us to see what is happening right now and be inspired by the
possibilities for the future.
As we visit seven of these exciting sites, you will learn
about their history and have the opportunity to speak with each site's
Our first stop will be the Massachusetts Avenue Project (M.A.P.))
Begun more than 20 years ago by residents and then incorporated in
2000, this urban farm now covers more than an acre of reclaimed vacant
lots on the West Side. Area teens learn marketable skills through
M.A.P.’s Growing Green Program, and the site features two greenhouses,
chickens, an indoor tilapia farm and a composting operation. Be sure to
check out the short documentary produced by Whole Foods, Grow: The Story of an Urban Farmer.
Right across the street on Massachusetts Ave., P.U.S.H.
(People United for Sustainable Housing) has turned abandoned property
into an environmentally conscious community gathering spot by creating a
park and playground. As they say on their website, “The quickest and
simplest way to bring the breath back to a neighborhood street is the
‘clean and green’ lot.” A short bus ride away are the 14th St. Gardens,
where five adjacent lots that once held abandoned houses were cleared
by P.U.S.H., and are now gardens used by 28 neighborhood families, many
of them immigrants.
Out on Fuhrmann Boulevard we will stop at the two-year old Wilkeson Pointe,
a former industrial dump site that has been transformed into a natural
playground and now showcases wind sculptures and volleyball. A surprise
view out over the breakwall awaits at the base of the sculptures.
Our lunch stop will be at the historically significant Mutual Riverfront Park on Hamburg Street, where we will be perfectly situated to take in a view of the world famous grain elevators.
After lunch, we move on to the Broadway Market
where we visit gardens ingeniously built on the roof of their parking
garage. Although the gardens are all about flowers and vegetables, they
are equally about creating community in this diverse neighborhood.
Next up is the Urban Habitat Project
next to the Central Terminal on Paderewski Drive. The UHP recently
received an Environmental Quality Award from the EPA for its achievement
in protecting public health and the environment. Not only is this
three acre project beautiful, but it also redirects 320,000 gallons of
rainwater away from Buffalo’s aging sewer system and uses splendid
swaths of sunflowers to help clean the soil through phytoremediation.
Our tour concludes at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus,
where we began. Here you will see the largest bio-retention facility in
the area, a relatively narrow garden at the south end of the four acre
parking lot. Only three years in operation, the site works to divert up
to four million gallons of storm water annually from Buffalo’s sewer
system, preventing the overflow that dumps sewage into our waterways.
Beyond Flowers Tour 2015 – Self-Guided
Are you the independent type? Or maybe the date of the
guided tour doesn’t work for you? Then set your own pace and explore
some of Buffalo’s exciting community sustainability projects on a
self-guided tour. Though you’ll miss out on the history and the chance
to talk with the leaders behind each site, the projects are worth a
visit on their own.
Your tour begins on Buffalo’s West Side at 389
Massachusetts Avenue, where tours are available at the Massachusetts
Avenue Project (M.A.P.) site, Tuesdays at 4:00 and Saturdays at 10:30,
$2 per person (check website
to confirm dates/times). Learn about MAP’s Growing Green Urban Farm
youth program and its indoor fish farm, compost site, chickens and green
houses. Before you leave, be sure to pick up some salsa and chile sauce
made and marketed by local teens participating in the Growing Green
Directly across the street is the P.U.S.H. Green Development Zone park and playground.
Here, community activists transformed once abandoned lots into
Buffalo’s largest publicly owned green space. Just a few blocks away at
309-315 14th St., between Rhode Island and Vermont, is P.U.S.H.’s 14th Street Garden, where five adjacent lots were cleared creating gardens for 28 neighborhood families.
Back into your car or onto your bike, and out to Fuhrmann Boulevard to visit Wilkeson Pointe
in Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. Opened in 2013, this “no mow” area was once
an industrial dump site. Now it boasts a rain garden and bio swales,
sports volleyball courts and kinetic wind sculptures
Then it’s a short ride to 41 Hamburg Street, where you’ll find Mutual Riverfront Park.
Pass under an overhead arch created from an ice boom, and enjoy the
park’s spectacular view of the world-famous grain elevators. Not far
away is Buffalo River Fest Park at 249 Ohio Street. (same website)
Now head over to Buffalo’s Central Terminal at 495 Paderewski Drive to visit the Urban Habitat Project.
Part of the Central Terminal Restoration Project (CTRP), this
three-acre site received the EPA’s Environmental Quality Award for its
achievement in protecting public health and the environment. The site
is not just beautiful - it also helps divert rain water from Buffalo’s
overworked sewer system and uses sunflowers to clean the soil through
Next is the Broadway Market Roof Garden,
built on the top of their parking garage, available Monday through
Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Amidst the lush flowers and vegetables,
you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of downtown Buffalo, including Polonia’s
“Seven Sisters,” the seven churches that surround the Market.
And finally, downtown at Goodell and Ellicott at the end of
the Kensington Expressway, stop to see the largest bio-retention cell in
the area at the end of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus four acre parking lot.
That relatively narrow plot of trees and plants is designed to handle
nearly four million gallons of storm water a year, keeping it out of the
easily over-whelmed Buffalo sewers. Continued improvements include
solar and wind powered lighting and a bike storage shelter.
East Side Momentum Tour
Saturday, August 8, 2015
9 am to 1 pm
School bus; restrooms will be
available at the start of the tour at Flying Bison Brewery, and there
will be one bathroom stop around 11 a.m. at MLK Park; no air
$25, includes roundtrip transportation, tour guides, water, fruit, and cookies
Flying Bison Brewery, 840 Seneca Street, Buffalo – free parking
If you have any questions or problems ordering tickets, please e-mail
Your receipt from PayPal will include informsation on shipping,
returns, etc. Please ignore this, as this is a digital ticket and
nothing will be shipped or returned.
As the mega projects continue in and around downtown Buffalo, equally
important work is happening on a smaller scale in other parts of the
city, specifically on Buffalo’s East Side.
Fueled by long-time residents, immigrants, and newcomers to
Buffalo, the projects range from a modest garden used for contemplation
and prayer by the Vietnamese Buddhist community to a garden designed to
teach 5th and 6th graders science and art. The impact on community is
grand, even when the projects are modest. We will visit eight sites
with project leaders at each one to answer questions.
Our tour begins on Fillmore Avenue. Perhaps you’ve noticed
the two-story tall Buddha statue on Fillmore near Broadway. Set in a
small, lovely garden, the site marks the volunteer efforts of the
Vietnamese Buddhist community. In 1997 they bought a vacant police
station from the city for $1, and began their work entirely through
volunteer efforts to turn it into a Buddhist Temple. tuhieutemple.com or chuatuhieu.com.
Next will be the Wilson Street Farm,
home of the Stevens family. The family garnered much press in the mid
2000s when they launched their plan to put a farm on 25 lots, nearly
two acres, of vacant city property. To their surprise the city
preferred to leave it vacant. The Stevens prevailed, and began farming
in the spring of 2008. Come hear the story as told by Janice Stevens,
mother of seven.
Then on to a community center on Sycamore Street called None Like You / We Care.
It’s both outreach and a block club, as well as a garden site.
Elizabeth Triggs has lived in the house for 37 years, and started the
community organization there 25 years ago. Everyone is welcome, and
Mrs. Triggs’ philosophy is that everyone has a skill to offer. For
example, in return for kids ages 4-12 getting help with their homework,
the kids help with the gardening. In the summer they have outdoor
movies in the garden, and volunteers have built handicap-accessible
picnic tables for neighbors in wheelchairs. Volunteers come from all
over, including UB and Daemen College.
Next is the Pelion Garden
on Best Street. Once the site of 4 abandoned houses, the parents of
City Honors School across the street conceived of an outdoor learning
lab to be used by 5th and 6th grade science and art classes. The garden
is used to educate kids and neighbors about: edible plants,
pollinators, storm water runoff, invasive species, natives, and the
like. You’ll also learn what yarn bombing is about.
Then to a joint venture of the Farmer Pirates and ArtFarms.
Set on land owned by the Farmer Pirates, a magnificent oversized
wooden table designed and built by the artist Michael Beitz is the first
of a number of public art projects planned for the East Side by
ArtFarms. The table has been used to sort and sell produce and also as
community space for art classes with Locust St. art school. Future
ArtFarm sites include the Wilson Street Farm, None Like You, and the
Our next stop is a crown jewel of the East side, Martin Luther King Park. There’s excellent history at this link. And below are links to suit other media styles.
While most of us have seen the splash pad, few of us know
about the compost tea they make there, the green house that grows all of
the flowers for the parks, or even the maintained meadow. You’ll also
hear about South Fillmore Avenue and its former inclusion in the Olmsted
Park system. That is, until sometime around 1920. Locals are working
to correct that omission. Keep in mind, Richmond Avenue with its now
beautifully tended circles is part of the system, so the inclusion would
have a significant impact.
After that is a visit to one of the sites supported by the group which calls itself the Farmer Pirates. The group owns and leases land at several locations on the East side. This one happens to be 6 acres on Gittere Street, where they’ve created a compost operation
that distributed 1000 yards of compost in the spring of 2014. You can
also find out why the name Farmer Pirates. At this stop you’ll also
learn about the Beltine Railway, (photos here / map here).
It’s a little known railroad system which once carried passengers
around the city and which still circles the city. There were nineteen
stops about a mile apart, and for a nickel you could get from one area
in the city to any other.
Our last stop is Peoples Park,
a pocket park many of you may have driven by and never noticed in the
shadow of the Tri-Main Building. Built with the aim of bridging the
East side and West side divide, kids ages 9 to 14 from school 61 on
Leroy and from school 66 at Parkside & North use the park for
programs. They’ve studied animal tracks and skeletons, and in the
summer there is a reading circle once a week when kids drop in, read,
and take books home. The park has raised beds adopted by organizations
nearby like Journey’s End and Aspire.
If neither the date nor thought of a bus tour works for you,
check out the sites on your own. On bike or in your car, it’s a morning
well-spent. They’re all within a relatively short distance from one
Tu Hieu Buddhist Cultural Center – 647 Fillmore Ave
Wilson Street Farm – 360 Wilson Street
None Like You/We Care – 595 Sycamore Avenue
Pelion Garden – 186 East North Street
ArtFarms Table – corner of Michigan and Riley
Martin Luther King Park – Best Street and Fillmore Avenue
Farmer Pirates – compost operation – foot of Gittere Street
Peoples Park – Main Street and Jewett Avenue
Garden Walk Buffalo remains the same great two-day tour. Garden Walk Bufalo Niagara is so much more...
What's your garden pleasure? Touring gardens by motorcoach? Touring gardens on weekdays? Biking to gardens? Buying garden art? Seeing garden art exhibits? Unique specialty tours? Learning more about gardening? Visiting gardens nationally and internationally? The new Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara (GWBN) now does all this and still runs Garden Walk Buffalo (the two-day tour you already know). GWBN also gives grants to block clubs and community groups for beautification projects, and helps PLANT WNY with a public space makeover each year.
Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara is all about creating, providing access to, and promotion of, garden tourism experiences in the Buffalo Niagara region as a catalyst for beautification, education, tourism, community-building, promotion, healthy living, sustainability, and civic pride. Don't forget to visit our Facebook page and "like" it to get updates on what's going on in gardening, year-round, in the Buffalo Niagara region.
Garden Walk Buffalo Announces 2015 Board of Directors Expands Regional Garden Tourism Initiatives
Garden Walk Buffalo, Inc.,
the nonprofit organization that hosts America’s largest annual garden tour –
Garden Walk Buffalo – announces its newly elected
board of directors for 2015.
The newly appointed board is hard at
work planning several events, including its signature Garden Walk event, which
annually attracts more than 60,000 tourists from around the world to Western
New York on the last full weekend in July, with an estimated economic impact of
Tips from Garden Walk gardeners
Vloggers Billy & Pat cover garden tips from Garden Walk Buffalo featuring some Garden Walk Buffalo gardeners...
Looking for more to do in Buffalo Niagara?
Your one-stop for finding out all there is to do in Buffalo is Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN). Foodie? History buff? Sports fan? Arts appreciator? Architecture your thing? Professional shopper? Visit Buffalo Niagara partners with all area attractions, festivals, and hotels to help make your visit the most enjoyable it can be – whether it be you on your own, your family, girls weekends, bus tours, or conventions large and small. Even if you're Canadian. Especially if you're Canadian!
Visit Buffalo Niagara has been a great partner to Garden Walk Buffalo for many years, helping to not only spread the word of the Walk outside of the region, but hosting dozens of national garden and travel writers here during and before Garden Walk.
The New York State Regional Economic Development Council awarded VBN a $50,000 grant, which VBN administers, on behalf of Garden Walk, the National Garden Festival and the horticulture tourism sector to promote garden tourism. Media purchases this year have included ads in the Canada Blooms catalog, Canadian Gardening magazine, Upstate Gardener's Journal, TV commercials on WNED, radio sponsorships on WBFO, social media campaigns, media relations efforts, and much more.
Garden Walk Buffalo's 20th Anniversary Commemorative Annual
In honor of its 20th year, Garden Walk Buffalo has produced a 60-page, glossy, magazine-style, commemorative annual featuring the gardens of Buffalo. The annual is available for $10
The publication features articles by the region's leading garden writers, including Sally Cunningham, Elizabeth Licata, Connie Oswald Stofko, Rochester's Jane Milliman and more. It features articles on Buffalo-style gardens, how to dress up your garden for visiting crowds, how to get the most out of a garden tour, tips for small gardens, gardening in Buffalo's urban setting, water features, hellstrips (area between sidewalk and street), other area gardening destinations, hardscape restoration, and much more.
We didn't write the book on garden tourism, but we're in it!
The first-ever book on garden tourism, aptly titled Garden Tourism, is out. The book, written by Dr. Richard Benfield, Associate
Professor of Geography at the Central Connecticut State University, is
an academic tome covering the history of, and the evolving of, garden
tourism from early Egyptian times (around 1,500 BCE), to the time the
book was published earlier this year. It's exhaustive.
And Garden Walk Buffalo and Buffalo's National Garden Festival
were well represented with a page and a half! In the chapter titled
"Outdoor Garden Festivals" there is a brief intro on the origins of
Garden Walk Buffalo–its byproduct/outgrowth the National Garden
Festival–and stats and research data we've collected over the years from
zip code collection and consumer surveys with the help and financial
support of Visit Buffalo Niagara.
Richard, who has visited Garden Walk Buffalo, and visited Buffalo on
other occasions, is a great advocate for the garden tourism efforts
we're putting forth.
Garden Walk Buffalo president emeritus, Jim Charlier, wrote an
endorsement/quote/review for the back of the book, which reads: