We are excited to announce the creation of a community garden on Lafayette Avenue, breaking ground in the spring of 2018. Canisius students, faculty, and staff are currently working with partners in the neighborhood to plan a space that will encourage lasting relationships and collaborations built around social justice, cultural exchange, ecological knowledge, the appreciation of nature's beauty, and of course the sharing of food! We see this garden as a shared vision, a symbol of our community's growing dedication to sustainability and partnership.
A Community Garden With & For Others
We are designing the garden in full partnership with various community organizations and groups that are interested in participating. Thus far, our community garden partners include PS 17, PS 74, the Somali-Bantu Community Organization, and the Oxford Square Block Club. We are also comprised of several student groups from Canisius, including Project Conservation, the USA Sustainability committee, and the USA Justice committee. As we continue this project, we hope to develop further partnerships in the areas both east and west of Main Street. Alongside our partners we will be addressing the organization of the garden space, issues of accessibility, governance and policies related to individual participation/use of raised beds, garden management, sources of funding, and potential learning or research collaborations.
A Garden & A Habitat
As the garden evolves, we envision several components coming to life that will emphasize the multiple uses of the space. The garden may include:
Raised Garden Beds
Garden beds will be a key feature of the site, allowing community members from campus and the neighborhood to grow and manage their own plots throughout the season. We are excited to see vegetables, fruits, flowers, and other plants populating this space and we have already started seedlings for the first summer.
Composting will be present on site to allow garden members to dispose of household food wastes in a way that can then be used for future garden bed supplementation. Compost provides rich nutrients and microorganisms that will help our garden grow.
Gardens in cities are shown to be calming, meditative spaces for residents. We envision creating space within our garden site to invite quiet contemplation for individuals or small groups who wish to use the space as a retreat.
Given our location in a neighborhood full of families as well as our partnerships with schools, we are planning to create a "scentsory" garden that features plants for children to explore using their sense of touch, smell, sight, and even taste!
Water Management & Rain Gardens
A key feature of any garden is water, and within our vision of sustainability we will be creating water management systems and rain gardens over time in order to help collect water and to provide our plants with a steady supply throughout the summer months.
Canisius University is dedicated to the education of the whole person, and a key feature of our garden space will be areas where teaching of all kinds can happen. We hope that community members, public school partners, and other groups will use these spaces for the exchange of knowledge and ideas related to issues in our neighborhood, food, and sustainability.
We are excited to build into our design hedgerows and other features that will promote the invitation of native pollinators to our garden, including native bees, butterflies, and birds. This is both a conservation goal to provide space for species like the monarch butterfly and a functional goal to help encourage renewal and pollination of vegetables, fruits, and other plants.