In two vacant lots one block from the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue, thousands of bright yellow sunflowers are blooming.
“They look great,” said Bobby Favors, a part-time student, as he walked on the sidewalk along Riley Street past the tall stalks of flowers one afternoon. “They’re very nice. It looks like they have a lot of seeds.” Favors said he enjoys eating sunflower seeds and was wondering if they might be available later. Favors thought the sunflower gardens brought a little bit of joy to a neighborhood still enduring the pain of the 5/14 massacre at the market last year.
“Flowers bring good times,” he said.
That’s the idea, said Michael Gainer, president of Buffalo ReUse, who with a few of his friends, an agreement with the landowners, and about $1,000, has grown several thousand sunflowers on two empty lots at Jefferson and Riley.
“My goal was to make a visual impact on the neighborhood and to spread some hopefulness and joyfulness,” Gainer said.
Last winter, Gainer returned to Buffalo ReUse as it shut down its retail operations. He and other founding members started talking about what projects they could take on to better their neighborhood on their limited budget.
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