A large part of why 5 Loaves Farm first came to exist is because we wanted to grow healthy food and make it available to anyone in our neighborhood. Because food plays such an important role in culture, providing access also means providing culturally relevant foods to our neighbors. Over the past three years we’ve been learning & experimenting with growing these cultural crops, and tonight we have chance to secure funding that will help grow our capacity to do this at the Pitch 10 competition. 5LF wins the funding if event attendees vote for our project, so click on the link to get your tickets and support our work!
Our neighborhood is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in all of New York State. Native Seneca people that have lived in the area for hundreds of years, descendants of the Italian immigrants that built up the neighborhood, Hispanic and African-American residents that flocked to northern urban areas during the last half of the last century, and refugees, resettled over the last decade or two, mostly from Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East, all call the West Side of Buffalo home. Even gentrifying urban ex-pats are now currently flooding the neighborhood. Just as you see great diversity in colors and patterns of clothing our neighbors wear, we’ve also found just as many different tastes and preferences in foods. These foods are all flavored by fresh
5LF set up shop here to bring people together around food, but if the only food you’re offering people is the kind of food you like, only people like you are going to come and get it – which over our first few years has been what we’ve experienced. So during his first year on the farm, back in 2016, staff member Seth Brown set out with the mission to collect, learn, grow, harvest and eventually even cook, the foods that have been a part of creating culture for many of the different people groups in our neighborhood. We dedicated more garden space to grow things we’ve never grown before, and dedicated more time to interact with and learn from friends from around the world so that we can perfect the art of growing these traditional foods. We set up a farm stand right at our farm site (the corner of Dewitt & W. Delavan) on Friday afternoons, and partnered with the Farmer’s Market Federation to be able to accept WIC checks so that this food is accessible to more and more people. It’s exciting to have our neighbors hunt us down, looking for those crops and foods that represent a taste of home, and give them a bit of their culture back.
Last fall, Seth Brown, our assistant farm manager, and Matt Kauffman, the farm manger, had the chance to visit a farm outside of Syracuse, NY run by refugees resettled from East Africa. We had the chance to see first hand the specific crops they are growing, their methods for growing them, and got to taste some of these new (to us) crops as they cooked them for us. We even came home with the seeds to grow in our own gardens!
5LF wants to be a cultural hub at the center of a thriving diverse community, bringing all types of people together to learn from and enjoy each other. Last weekend’s Celebrate the Harvest party provided the opportunity for us to be just that. Our youth were making bubble tea, frying squash fritters, & serving up soups that are important to their southeast Asian cultures. We had pastelitos, rice, beans, and desserts made by our Hispanic friends, and classic fall soups, like Italian Beans & Greens, and Cheddar & Broccoli.
So tonight we would appreciate your support in continuing this work. If you can make it to Babeville (341 Deleware Ave) at 5pm for the Pitch 10 event, you can enjoy a drink, food, and vote for our project to expand growing these important, healthy foods, and help our neighbors reclaim a taste of home!