Grassroots Gardens is growing our land trust! This campaign will assist us in permanently protecting and conserving some of Buffalo-Niagara's oldest community gardens. In 2017, Grassroots Gardens became a land trust with the private donation of the Cottage District Community Garden and the Tyler Street Community Garden to our organization. A Community Land Trust allows the community to maintain site control of the land and the sponsoring nonprofit organization to hold title. The gardens in our land trust can never be sold for development and will forever remain in their neighborhoods as a community-run green space.
Buffalo-Niagara's real estate boom has led to developers trying to purchase several of our leased lots that hold community gardens. The community spoke out and these gardens were saved but the only way to ensure that doesn't happen again is to make a long-term plan for their protection. Some of our community gardens on leased land, like the Fargo Estates Community Gardeon on Buffalo's west side, are now 24 years old!
In 2020, Grassroots Gardens underwent an intensive organizational audit to demonstrate to our local community and our national partners, the Land Trust Alliance, that while we are small, we are a mighty land trust, working at the highest standards and practices in the field. We are hopeful we will receive our accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance later this year. We are also working with our partners in city government over the coming year to make a plan for how we can bring more of the community gardens on leased land into the protection of the land trust if they meet specific criteria that is evaluted by our Land Stewardship Committee. To be ready for the day the land trust grows, we need to cultivate our land stewardship reserves.
Prior to his passing in 2006, our founder, Milton Zeckhauser, established an account at the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo for such a future purpose. Your donation today will be restricted to the purpose of purchasing some of our community gardens as they become available to us and for the future stewardship and care of all the gardens in our land trust. Our short-term goal is to permanently protect and conserve at least one community garden per Council district in Buffalo and at least one in Niagara Falls. Help us ensure our communities have a garden for all times. Thank you for your continued support.