"You give them something to eat" – Jesus of Nazareth
Thursday, September 27
So this week marks the first official week of fall, and nothing says fall like pumpkin spice donuts and apple cider! Both of which will be featured at next week’s Celebrate the Harvest event at the farm, a time where we celebrate the changes the farm has brought to our neighborhood. But not all change is good… There are those that look skeptically at the changes both fall and the farm have brought.
Fall brings a brisk chill in the air, the golden glow the sunlight gives as it moves a bit lower through the sky, the leaves kaleidoscope of colors, the smell of soups being made in the kitchen, and the warmth of sweet treat in hand. These are wonderful changes that we love to celebrate each year.
Now not all people appreciate the changes fall brings. Many bemoan the passing of summer and cringe at the thought of the impending winter. All those fall colors and frosty mornings do signal the death of another growing season here in WNY.
As we Celebrate the Harvest, and celebrate the changes here at 5 Loaves Farm there is this same tension.
5 Loaves Farm started over six years ago on vacant land and next to houses that the government was almost giving away. Today this land and these houses are vibrant, beautiful, full of life and a hub of activity in our community.
However, these wonderful changes have come along with other changes in the neighborhood. Gentrification has crept in, driving up the prices of remaining vacant lots, as well as the homes around them. Many voices in the neighborhood are wary of this trend, the displacement it brings to poorer residents, and a shift in the culture the neighborhood once had. Some would say the farm itself is one of the causes of this very problem.
Those of us at 5 Loaves Farm will own some of the blame… We do want a neighborhood where vacant homes are again occupied, where housing values present economic incentive for owners to fix them up and care for them, where hope and beauty are infused into places that once reflected brokenness. All of our neighbors, regardless of culture and socioeconomic class have thanked us, partnered with us, and appreciated the changes that the farm has brought to the neighborhood. At the same time we also want to stand with neighbors that are doing the important work of also fighting to create rent-stabilized housing and inclusive zoning codes that balance the need to create these beneficial changes with the real need to stem displacement.
But let’s get back to our cider and donuts!
Next weekend we’ll have a party with folks and neighbors from all different backgrounds celebrating together at the farm and Farmhouse. We’ll share some hot soup, some fresh warm homemade donuts, and cup of cider together. We’ll share our ideas and visions for the future of our neighborhood together. And we’ll celebrate the real picture the farm represents, of what can happen when neighbors work together to make those ideas and visions a reality!