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First Niagara partners with the Massachusetts Avenue Project's 'Growing Green' youth program

by jmaloni


Thu, Oct 9th 2014 11:50 am

Grant funding will provide urban agriculture program for local youth designed to increase access to affordable, nutritious food

The First Niagara Foundation and the Massachusetts Avenue Project Inc. are partnering to provide the "Growing Green" youth development and urban agriculture program designed to increase access to healthy foods in Buffalo.

The Massachusetts Avenue Project employs local young people to work on "Growing Green's" urban farm, which consists of 13 lots covering more than one acre of reclaimed vacant lots in a residential neighborhood on Buffalo's West Side. The students work together to grow, market and distribute organic produce for communities, restaurants and retail establishments in Buffalo, learning valuable skills.

The First Niagara Foundation is providing $10,000 in funding for the Massachusetts Avenue Project. Approximately 50 students will be employed throughout the year to support the infrastructure of the local food system.

"First Niagara is proud to support a program that provides everyone in our community the opportunity to enrich their lives and enhance our local food supply," said Buford Sears, First Niagara regional president, Western New York. "The 'Growing Green' program is helping to transform vacant lots in our city into productive green spaces, and creating access to affordable, nutritious food and social change education."

"First Niagara's ongoing support of the Massachusetts Avenue Project's 'Growing Green' program is helping us to make our food system more local and inclusive. The young people employed in the program and their families are actively engaged in policy development and planning for greater food justice and the promotion of healthier communities," said Diane Picard, executive director of the Massachusetts Avenue Project.

The First Niagara Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable entity. Founded in 1998, it is committed to supporting organizations in the communities in which members live and work, with specific focus on youth and education, community development and neighborhood revitalization. In 2013, First Niagara contributed more than $9 million in charitable grants to community partners across the bank's four-state footprint.

For additional information on First Niagara, visit www.firstniagara.com.

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