Urban Farming Struggles Into Buffalo
Derek Gee / Buffalo News
Where is Grant Wood when you need him, to paint this scene of a reverse migration, two farmers from Wyoming who want to want to farm on the East Side of Buffalo. But the planting season is running out from under them, as they argue with the City about whether they can buy it or only lease the land. The City, which has five thousand empty houses, insists on leasing so that it can save the land- for housing. Mark and Mary Stevens don't want to invest the time and money in farming the land if the City can then just take it back from them. City Council President Franczyk munches metaphors as he tries to broker a compromise:
"I would prefer a straight-out sale. But you have to get your tiller in the ground."
The City expressed some concerns about smells from fertilizer and water run-off, but Mark and Janice Stevens discount that, saying that they would not use any chemicals or pesticides. They appear to practice a type of farming that is particularly well suited to the City:
"We've always grown naturally," said Stevens, who had a small farm in Wyoming County before he moved his large family to Fillmore Avenue.
"Our main focuses would be composting and vermin culture — earthworms," he said. Done properly, Stevens said, there won't be any unpleasant smell.