Western NY farm collective helping those who can't otherwise access farmland

The Providence Farm Collective is a non-profit organization that supports black, immigrant, refugee, and low-income farmers who can't otherwise access farmland in Western New York.

In 2021, 275 farmers and 84 summer youth employees grew and harvested more than 90,000 pounds of produce for 6,000 people who experienced food insecurity in Erie and Niagara counties. Planting crops in the soil also helps farmers connect with their roots.

Hidden in the back of a house on Parkdale Avenue is the greenhouse Nelson Nagbe helps take care of. The greenhouse is made possible by the Providence Farm Collective.

This is where those who are part of the Liberian Association of Buffalo come to prepare their year's crops for planting. Nelson, the president of the association, says when the group first heard about the farm collective, almost everyone was interested and excited to join. "Every member, because almost everybody that is here from Liberia, we are from Liberia, we are interested in farming. It's our way of living. Our parents' parents' parents do this substation farming to feed themselves. So they taught us the same way," Nelson said.

Nelson said when association members came to Buffalo, they had their own little gardens, but now they could plant more. The crops growing are crops traditionally used in Liberian cuisine. "These are crops and vegetables that we're used to eating. So when we don't see them, we do not have them, and we don't feel satisfied with the dish that we are having at that time. So we need them. It is important to grow them ourselves to be able to prepare our meals out of them," Nelson said.

Read the complete article at www.spectrumlocalnews.com.

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