An Oasis in a Food Desert

by / Jul. 20, 2016 2am EST

A small oasis in an extensive food desert in Buffalo. For the past 20 years or so, the only foodusing the term looselyfor purchase within about a mile radius of the Main and Amherst streets intersection was Doritos. Now, once a week anyway, vibrant green vegetables—locally grown broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, zucchini, and moreand red—sweet cherries and real tomatoesat a farmers market in the parking lot of the International Wine and Spirits store at the corner of Main and Orchard.  

The vegetables and fruits in two tents under the auspices of Allison DeHonney, who grows some of her produce in her urban garden at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Dupont Streetthe superb chard last week was from the urban gardenand obtains the rest from local farmers, mostly from Niagara County. Xylina Ulloa, an intern assistant to DeHonney, studies dietary science at Buffalo State College. 

Other delights in a few other tents.  Wholesome and tasty baked goods as well as locally sourced by Emily Pierce-Delaney. Part of her mission statement, Pierce-Delaney said, is to obtain 75 percent of her ingredients from within 155 miles of Buffalo. Nothing from farther away than Ithaca. Plus handmade jewelry by Jess Martinen. And even help with family management issues, by behavioral health (and related fields) consultant and ECC instructor Vivian Logan, with her book for sale, entitled How to Create an Aggressive Child, even if you are not really trying.   

The farmers market was instituted through a city participatory budgeting programfostered and promoted by the Clean Air Coalitionthat included balloting wherein area residents were asked to list community priority needs. A market with real vegetables and fruits was the top vote-getter.  

Neighborhood resident Vinny Rondinelli is shepherding the Main and Orchard project for the participatory budgeting people. He said he would like to increase the number of vendors and tents over the next weeks. The market is scheduled to operate through October 1. Every Saturday, 10am-2pm.