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The Tool Library’s Capital Campaign to buy 2626 Main Street gains momentum

Membership to The Tool Library starts as low as $30/year and provides access to thousands of tools.

For 13 years, The Tool Library in Buffalo has enabled people and organizations across Western New York to borrow the tools they need to fix their houses, grow their own food and improve their communities.

Now, the local nonprofit has launched a capital campaign to purchase and renovate a home of its own: the historic building at 2626 Main St. where The Tool Library is currently located. The building is next to the Amherst Street Metro Rail station.

The campaign aims to raise $1 million for The Tool Library to buy 2626 Main St. and transform it into a vital civic asset, enhancing the organization’s community offerings, expanding the inventory of tools that people can borrow, creating dedicated spaces for DIY workshops, developing a small community food forest outside of the building, and more. 

Planned renovations — from carpentry to electrical work — will coincide with DIY workshops that provide hands-on experiences for community members and volunteers to build new skills using shared tools.

To donate to the capital campaign, visit https://givebutter.com/2626

Over 250 neighbors, friends and supporters have contributed to the campaign so far. Major gifts have included $175,000 from the Junior League of Buffalo and The Buffalo News; $50,000 from the Cummings Foundation; $25,000 from the Paul and Dorothy Borenstein Memorial Foundation, and $5,000 from CannonDesign. Additionally, FOS of CannonDesign has provided in-kind facility condition assessment services, providing the organization with a roadmap for building improvements and stewardship over the next decade.

“Thirteen years ago, The Tool Library was just an idea,” says Darren Cotton, Founder and Executive Director. “Today we’re a community of people committed to building a world that is more generous, kind and connected. We’re ready to plant our roots and establish a permanent home at 2626 Main Street thanks to the support and generosity of that community.”

The Tool Library is actively seeking a mix of funding sources — private philanthropy, public funds, corporate partnerships and individual donors — to realize its vision. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities via The Tool Library’s website: https://thetoollibrary.org/2626main/

The vision for 2626 Main St. includes:

Growing The Tool Library’s core borrowing program to add more tools.

Converting the basement to include a workshop for larger stationary tools.

Launching DIY workshops and educational programs that members have long requested.

Expanding free fix-it events called Dare to Repair Cafés by offering them in-house to serve more people. These events invite community members to bring in broken items to be repaired by volunteer fixers, saving money and diverting usable objects from the landfill.

Restoring the building’s historic character, installing new exterior signage, improving energy efficiency, reconfiguring the interior layout and enhancing exterior spaces. Two pocket parks in front of the property provide an opportunity to create outdoor educational space and a small community food forest.

Over the past decade, The Tool Library has helped plant more than 1,600 trees across the City of Buffalo.

The Tool Library is a volunteer-powered nonprofit that serves over 1,700 members. Over the years, the organization has also partnered with many community groups to drive projects ranging from large-scale tree and bulb plantings to cleanups and stewardship of parks, trails and community gardens, notably through its seasonal Service Days.

Acquiring its home at 2626 Main Street will give The Tool Library the space and financial resources to expand and invest in new and existing programs, growing Buffalo’s sharing and repairing economy.

The post The Tool Library’s Capital Campaign to buy 2626 Main Street gains momentum appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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Voices from North Tonawanda residents cannot drown out constant noise from Crypto Miner

Growing up as a toddler in the shadow of the Central Terminal and through my grade school days near both the mainline Thruway and the Norfolk Southern switching yards, I grew up with noise.  The noise I heard daily could be loud or forgotten in the background.  Noises that could be the scraping wheels of a train, the revving of a sports car, the din of tires on asphalt, but it was nothing compared to the type of noise that the residents of North Tonawanda are currently being subjected to.

As you drive south down Erie towards Meadow Drive, you will likely hear a noise that you just can’t place.   The sound is constant in pitch, like the buzzing of a swarm of bees or the wailing of a long-passed train whistle, but it goes on, unwavering in pitch throughout the day.  This noise is coming from the Digihost cryptocurrency mining operation at the old Fortistar power plant and a coalition of residents and advocates from Earthjustice and the Clean Air Coalition of WNY held a press conference to raise awareness of this issue.

Think of the noise from your laptop when the internal fan comes on to cool it off.  This is effectively the same issue for the cryptocurrency mines.  Multiply the heat generated by tens or hundreds of thousands of computer units that operate faster and hotter than your home computer, and operations like Digihost use banks of large industrial fans to remove this heat.  These fans, and the noise they generate run 24/7 in all weather conditions.

Ironically, the sound from the plant stopped just before cameras and recorders started rolling for the press conference (and the residents mused that Digihost must have taken notice of the start time of the press conference).   In its place, heavy trucks from the City of North Tonawanda highway department started rolling by to take its place.

The company selected the site for two reasons.  First, it reopened the former peaker plant in order to power their operations.  And as a site built for power generation, it already had the high-capacity hookups to the power grid in order to draw even more energy if needed.  

New York regulators dropped the ball on the plant as the operating permit expired back in 2021 prior to the change in ownership.  That permit was approved for intermittent use.  As a peaker plant, the old owners were only operating 5-6 weeks a year to supplement power during peak power usage.  Today, under the ownership of Digihost, the site is now operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  And they are allowed to operate under the expired permit while their application for renewal is “under review” by regulators.

In addition, the expired permit was reviewed in the days prior to the passage in 2019 of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which mandates that CO2 emissions in the state need to be reduced by 40% below 1990 levels for the state.  This applied to both public and private usage, and as the environmental advocates point out, the reopening of an old, inefficient, fossil fuel burning power plant is a step in the wrong direction.  

This operation is similar to an operation in the Finger Lakes.  Greenidge was another cryptocurrency mining operation that moved to a site that also had a peaker power plant operating under an expired license and ramped up the power generation to a full-time operation.  The NYS DEC denied the air quality permit for the power plant in 2022 and the decision has been upheld through two appeals.

With the precedent in place, the coalition is asking for the NYS DEC to expedite review of the air quality permit for the Digihost/Fortistar power facility.   “Digihost, by their own projections, admit they will plan to emit as much as 312,000 tons of GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions every year. That’s equivalent to the climate warming emissions caused by more than 165,000 homes. In just one year, the Digihost projections show that 312,000 tons of emissions is more than double what they emitted from the years 2016 to 2023 combined. In just one year, they plan to increase their emissions more than the past seven years combined. That’s a steep increase,” said Jessamine De Ocampo, Associate Attorney with Earthjustice.

Residents, however, have a more immediate need.  They want the constant noise to stop.  It’s an issue affecting their sleep and health.  Enforcement is hampered by the City of North Tonawanda’s lack of sound monitors.  The City’s noise ordinance also may not be sufficient to reduce the noise levels as it does not check on higher decibel levels generated by industrial operations.  One thing is for certain, according to the residents on Sherwood Avenue, the short, concrete sound barrier placed between them and the Digihost facility (more like a privacy fence) has done nothing to relieve them of the constant noise.

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Town of Tonawanda gets a Community Tree Nursery

Every town needs a tree nursery. The advantages of having a dedicated tree nursery are boundless. Neighborhoods across Western New York struggle to care for their tree-lined streets. When trees are ravaged by storms, or invasive predators, they tend to wither away and die. Many of these trees are not replaced due to lack of funding and lack of resources.

Buffalo was once known as The City of Trees. While most of our streets are taken care of, thanks to organizations such at ReTree Buffalo, there’s still a long way to go towards replenishing our stock of trees in general.

In order to better handle tree replenishment, the Town of Tonawanda has established a community tree nursery, located at the Town of Tonawanda Highway Department on Woodward Avenue. The new tree nursery boasts 200 trees, with eight different species. There is also a drip irrigation system from an on-site cistern. Each year, 50 trees will be transplanted from the nursery, to areas that need them most. In turn, 50 new trees are planted to sustain the project. Each tree will grow on the site for four years, before it is dug up and relocated to a site that most aptly benefits, in efforts ranging from community development to environmental justice.

“It’s easy to take them for granted, but trees play a huge role in creating and maintaining healthy and attractive communities,” said New York State Senator Sean Ryan, who recently announced that he had secured a $20,000 state grant to establish a community tree nursery. “They beautify our towns, improve air quality, and increase property values in our neighborhoods. When Ted Rymarczyk from the Highway Department came to me with the idea for a community tree nursery, I knew I wanted to be part of making it a reality. Thanks to Ted, Brian Fittry, and the rest of the Town of Tonawanda Highway Department for their vision, and for their hard work to get the nursery up and running.”

“The Town of Tonawanda is grateful to Senator Ryan for securing this important funding for the tree farm,” said Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger. “Our town was at the epicenter of the 2006 October Surprise Storm, and we are still recovering from it. Close to 27,000 of the 31,000 trees located in town rights-of-ways were damaged. 2,000 could not be saved. The tree farm will allow us to grow and maintain a healthy stock of trees that will be planted to replace trees that had to be removed.”

The nursery was designed with a focus on sustainability:

Its mulch is made of repurposed wood chips from trees that have been removed by the Highway Department

The pathways surrounding the nursery are recycled road milling from Tonawanda streets.

The Highway Department will also work with various local community groups to schedule community education classes for all ages in which participants will learn the value of trees in our communities, as well as proper techniques for pruning, mulching, and general tree care.

“The community tree nursery began as a fun idea and has grown into a program that we think will have a real impact on the Town of Tonawanda,” said Brian E. Fittry, Town of Tonawanda Deputy Superintendent of Highways. “We are grateful to Senator Ryan for securing the grant that has made this project possible.”

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Habitat for Humanity Buffalo Dedicates Two New Homes in Western New York

Habitat for Humanity Buffalo continues on with its busy 2024 summer house-building season, as it announces the completion of two more newly constructed homes in Western New York – one at 503 Busti Avenue in Buffalo and another at 52 Olcott Place in Cheektowaga.


(L-R) 52 Olcott Place, 503 Busti Avenue

The two families benefiting from the house completions are Bush and Ngong families. Both families recently attended a ceremonial unveiling and dedication of the homes, where they were presented the keys, “symbolizing a new chapter in their lives.”

The dedication of these homes underscores Habitat Buffalo’s mission to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through homeownership. 

“These events are a testament to the strength and resilience of our community,” said Christopher Kennedy, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Buffalo. “Seeing the joy and relief on the faces of the Bush and Ngong families as they receive their keys is the most rewarding part of our work. It’s a powerful reminder of why we do what we do.” 

Habitat for Humanity Buffalo creates homeownership opportunities for low-income families in the City of Buffalo by:

Subsidizing the cost of homes through donations and volunteer labor

Families who purchase homes through the program are required to contribute at least 400 hours of “sweat equity,” working alongside community volunteers to construct their homes and the houses of other families in the program

Once approved, families purchase their homes from Habitat Buffalo by paying a low-interest, affordable monthly mortgage

At the ceremonies, the families discussed the importance of home ownership and what it means to them, as well as the struggles that led up to the milestone accomplishments.

“These families have shared with us that they used to live in constant uncertainty, always looking over their shoulders, unsure of when they might have to move again,” said Kennedy. “Now, they can stop looking over their shoulders and start looking forward because they finally have a place to call home.”

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WNY Book Arts Center hosts 13th Annual BookFest

Every year, Western New York Book Arts hosts Bookfest, a festival dedicated to printmaking, letterpress printing, stenciling, bookmaking, and the overall art of the book. The family-friendly festival features all sorts of creative demonstrations and interactive activities, as well as an artist market.

Event highlights:

Outdoor printmaking with multiple hands-on presses operating outside all day! Create prints from hand-carved blocks to stencils, printing plates and more!. Meet the artists, observe, and participate in the printmaking process.

Hands-on workshops for all ages – including letterpress printed posters, bookmaking using antique equipment, and screen printing wearables – come with your own fabric item (t-shirt or tote bag for FREE printing or buy one from us for $10)

Pop Up Artist Market – highlighting WNY craftspeople, artisans, and writers. Peruse through local vendors specializing in book arts, printing, and handmade crafts.

16th Annual Book Arts Members’ Show Opening Reception – peruse works on view in the Main Gallery by over 30 member artists.

BookFest will be held at the Book Arts center – 468 Washington Street in downtown Buffalo, on Saturday, June 29, 2024 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

The event is in tandem with the Center’s 16th Annual Members’ Show.

Visit www.wnybookarts.org/events for more information and updates.

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Third Annual Western New York Urban Treks Challenge

The third annual Western New York Urban Treks Challenge – hosted by Outside Chronicles and the Black Rock Riverside Alliance (BRRAlliance) – has officially launched. The Challenge was initially created to get more people outside enjoying local parks and trails, while getting healthy by engaging with their natural surroundings.

Not only does a walk in the park clear the head and get the blood pumping, this particular Challenge is also informative. Participants learn about the history of the parks, while identifying flora and fauna along the way.

What’s Included in the Challenge

Challenge Packet – a PDF containing information to get you started, park descriptions, trailhead coordinates, maps, checklists, and more. 

Digital Maps – every location has a digital map you can import into the easy-to-use Avenza maps app.

NEW Challenge App – new in 2024 is an app to track your progress; the app works on iPhone, Android, or in a web browser.

Private Facebook Group – participants can join a private challenge Facebook group to ask questions, share photos, and meet your fellow trekkers.

Improved Physical & Mental Wellbeing – it’s a proven fact that getting outside in nature will improve your physical and mental fitness.

Give Back – a large portion of your challenge registration fee will be donated to organizations doing incredible work in WNY.

Giving Back

According to the BRRAlliance, The WNY Urban Treks Challenge gives 100% of profits to organizations that promote stewardship of the outdoors, protect the lands we use for recreation, or provide outdoor education for all.  All profits from trekker registrations will be donated to the Black Rock Riverside Alliance.

The BRRAlliance has created the challenge for all the right reasons, including the boosting the health of participants, as well as the health of the planet. By being in tune with our natural surroundings, we are better equipped to nurture nature. And the best way to do that is to engage with local parks and trails that dot the WNY landscape.

The WNY Urban Treks Challenge includes 16 treks, each with a unique landmark. The landmarks include; monuments, bridges, and trees.  Each park has a highlighted ‘Suggested Trail” that takes you past each Challenge Landmark. This year’s treks are:

Black Rock – Riverside Park

Buffalo State & Richardson Complex

Cazenovia Park

Circles & Parkways

Darwin Martin House

Delaware Park (Rumsey Woods)

Erie Basin Marina

Forest Lawn Cemetery

Martin Luther King (MLK) Park

Niawanda Park 

Ohio Street Parks

Outer Harbor

South Park

Symphony Circle

Tifft Nature Preserve

Unity Island

Challenge Rules

This year’s Challenge features 16 treks. Hikers need to earn 150 points to receive a finisher patch, sticker, and bragging rights.

Earn one-hundred fifty (150) points by completing challenges in the new app between June 21 and October 15, 2024.

Points can be earned by hiking trails, completing tasks, and other fun challenges!

Use the information in the Challenge packet and app to earn 150 points. Treks are worth 10 points.  In addition to treksyou can earn points by completing fun challenges in the app. Get out there and find the landmarks! Follow fellow trekkers on the leaderboard and don’t forget to check out the My Badges sections to earn fun in-app badges.

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Infilling: Large East Side Affordable Housing Project Planned

An affordable housing developer is seeking to construct 66 new rental homes on vacant lots east of Jefferson Avenue and reuse a former church for housing. Beacon Community Services LLC is seeking to purchase 49 City-owned lots on Adams, Madison, Monroe, Peckham and Watson street needed for the $29 million project.  

Beacon is proposing “the historic adaptive reuse of a former church into affordable housing” according to a Common Council agenda item; the church is not named.  However, it appears to be the circa-1911 former Stephen’s Evangelical Church located at Adams and Peckham streets.  Emmanuel Temple SDA church had been using the church building and is planning a new church at Genesee and Fillmore Avenue.  The congregation is currently worshiping in the King Urban Life Center located at 938 Genesee Street.

Beacon is seeking to enter into a Designated Developer Agreement with the City for the purchase and development of residential vacant land located at 246, 256, 258, 260, 266 Adams; 223, 235, 237, 315, 317, 319, 321 Madison; 242, 244, 246, 247, 249, 250, 253, 287, 291, 293, 297, 301, 307, 311, 313, 317, 319, 321, 323 Monroe; 62, 66, 68, 100, 106, 108, 123 Peckham & 260, 264, 266, 270, 272, 277, 279, 281, 304, 308, 310 Watson. 

The sixty-six new two and three -family affordable rental homes would be a mix of studio apartments, and 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units, and approximately 60 to 70 parking spaces.

Beacon Communities LLC is a privately owned real estate firm that develops, acquires, invests in, and manages a wide range of multi-family housing. The firm entered the local market by acquiring Norstar USA in December 2022. Their developments range from new construction, to historic adaptive reuse, to the renovation of existing housing.

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Cruise with a View – See the Ralph Wilson Park Shoreline (and Signature Bridge) on 716 Day

Join the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy team and partners for an exclusive two-hour boat tour on the Miss Buffalo II.

Witness the breathtaking transformation of Ralph Wilson Park and get a sneak peek at Buffalo’s newest signature bridge from the best view in town – the water.

For one day only -on 716 Day of all days – the four separate pieces that will make up the 260ft long, 220 ton bridge will be visible on two barges at the edge of the park.

In the fall, The Ralph Wilson Park Bridge will be lifted into the park, welded together, moved across the park and installed across the I-190 (learn more). 

Tickets for this unique event on Tuesday, July 16th include light appetizers, an open bar (beer, wine, pop), and a historic, once-in-a-lifetime, up-close view of the Ralph Wilson Park Bridge.

Spend a beautiful night on Buffalo’s waterfront on the Miss Buffalo II and help Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy  keep its family-friendly programming free.  

Purchase your tickets before the event:

Single $150.00

Single ticket for the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy Cruise with a Big View. Includes open bar (beer, wine and pop) and light appetizers for 2 hours.

Couple $275.00

2 tickets for the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy Cruise with a Big View. Includes open bar (beer, wine and pop) and light appetizers for 2 hours.

The Foolish Club $1,000.00

Become one of the first financial supporters of the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy and secure your historic place in the “Foolish Club.” When the AFL formed in 1960, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr and seven others invested in unproven football teams, like our Buffalo Bills. They called themselves the Foolish Club for investing in teams that had yet to prove themselves financially or competitively. This sponsorship package comes with honor, two t-shirts, and 2 tickets for the Ralph Wilson Park Conservancy Cruise with a Big View. Includes open bar (beer, wine and pop) and light appetizers for 2 hours.

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Bridging Buffalo and Rochester: A Wellness Collaboration

In a cozy corner of Buffalo’s newest caffeinated gem, Raha Coffee House on Amherst Street, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chantelle Nicole, a dynamic yoga instructor whose journey is as inspiring as the tranquility she brings to her classes. Raha Coffee House, with its rich Yemeni heritage and warm, communal atmosphere, provided the perfect backdrop for our conversation. Raha is not just about excellent coffee; it’s a celebration of heritage and hospitality, where every guest is a friend and every visit is an opportunity to make memories over a cup of exceptional coffee.

Raha Coffee House

Chantelle’s path to yoga was born from personal struggle, finding solace and empowerment within its embrace. Her dedication led her to become a certified yoga instructor, advocating for holistic wellness through her teachings and events within the Buffalo community. “My experience and journey with yoga has been one of deep healing and self-discovery,” she shared, her eyes reflecting the depth of her transformation. “Once I experienced the transformation that yoga had in my life, I had a deep desire to share this gift with my community.”

In the heart of Rochester, Dominic Piacentini champions wellness through Restorative Practices as the founder of R4 Wellness & Consulting. His holistic approach integrates physical, mental, and spiritual elements, guiding individuals and communities towards positive connections and holistic well-being. When asked about his passion, Dominic said, “I’ve developed such a passion for wellness, exploration, and personal growth over the past several years. I have found such benefit from the experiences I’ve had along my own personal journey, and I’ve come to have a strong desire to create and share similar experiences with others in a way that is accessible for all and makes them feel welcomed.”

Chantelle and Dominic’s paths, though distinct, converged through a serendipitous connection on Instagram, nurtured by a shared enthusiasm for yoga and holistic well-being. This digital introduction has blossomed into a beautiful collaboration, leading to the creation of “Summer Sol at Riff City Social,” a micro wellness retreat on June 30th.

As Chantelle and I talked amidst the comforting aroma of Yemeni coffee, her enthusiasm for the upcoming event was palpable. “My hope in creating these circles is to bring multi-faceted communities together in hopes of educating and providing a variety of tools to help empower each individual on their own journey of healing and self-discovery,” she explained. This event, co-hosted by Chantelle and Dominic, embodies their shared vision of unity and collaboration. Attendees can expect a day filled with community building, yoga, meditation, healing sound baths, and Reiki, all curated to foster connections and deepen well-being.

This event isn’t just about yoga poses or meditation techniques—it’s about building bridges between communities. By bringing together talented facilitators and vendors from both Buffalo and Rochester, Chantelle and Dominic aim to create a space where individuals can come together to nourish their bodies, minds, and spirits. Dominic’s vision resonates strongly here. “I’ve met so many great people and now friends in the Rochester and Buffalo wellness spaces that I hope to be a small part in helping bridge the many vibrant individuals and groups from both cities and further uplift our collective consciousness and well-being,” he reflected.

Adding to this spirit of collaboration, Amy Riposo from Rochester A-List has been instrumental in promoting the event. Amy, known for her expertise in creating unique and memorable events, brings her vast experience in event planning and community engagement to ensure the success of “Summer Sol at Riff City Social.” Her involvement highlights the seamless connection and shared goals between the wellness communities of Buffalo and Rochester.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or new to the practice, “Summer Sol at Riff City Social” offers an opportunity to embark on a journey of self-discovery and renewal. Under the guidance of compassionate instructors like Chantelle Nicole and Dominic Piacentini, attendees can expect to leave feeling revitalized and inspired to continue their wellness journey.

Join Chantelle Nicole and Dominic Piacentini on June 30th for “Summer Sol at Riff City Social,” and experience a day of unity, wellness, and transformative connection.

Testimonials

Chantelle’s Testimonials:

“I have been to a few of Chantelle’s yoga events and each time I am amazed with the effort she puts in to cultivate such a calming but empowering environment. Not only are her yoga classes centering and invigorating, but the people she brings along with her are knowledgeable and there to offer different services that you didn’t even know you needed! I cannot wait to attend Summer Sol at Riff City!” – Dani

“I’ve never experienced such a genuine grounded feeling in a class until participating at Chantelle’s yoga events. Something about her brings peace to the room. And in a way that’s comfortable to all levels of yogis. Not everyone is open to meditation or movement vulnerability. But Chantelle has such strength and care behind her class that gifts you with a comfort you didn’t know you needed. She is well traveled and well experienced which gives her practice a well rounded feeling to it. She is someone I would feel comfortable bringing my 78 year old father to my 8 year old niece. She’s excellent with beginners and brings the heat for more advanced yogis. Chantelle’s events are by far my favorite yoga event in Buffalo, New York.” – Melinda

“Chantelle’s energy is warm and inviting and she has a magical way of making her classes energetic yet calming as well as challenging yet meditative. I love taking classes with Chantelle and allowing her to guide me through my yoga journey!” – Elise

Dominic’s Testimonials:

“Making the decision to begin a serious wellness journey after being, well-unwell, for a large portion of my adult life was a decision that invited a tempest of emotions. At the top of that list? A fierce tie between hope and fear. Dom and his team made what seemed an almost impossible first step seem not only doable, but actually very comforting, empowering, and safe. It destroyed the fear portion and illuminated the hope part, which helped keep me on the path to authentic and joyful wellness. I look forward to more events in the future!” – Jessica

“My experience at the ‘Fall into Restoration’ event was really great. I was a little nervous because I have never done anything like this and didn’t know what to expect. I had done a cold plunge, but only with a few people. It was a great turnout at the event and everyone was very welcoming. All the people who were involved did an excellent job and I appreciated their energy.” – David

“Dom creates a beautiful, inclusive sense of community. What could be more inspiring than finding yourself surrounded by a group of people all setting their sights on bettering themselves?” – Jamie

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Meet Savage Wheat Project, a Local Food Producer Leading the Charge for Eat Local WNY: An Initiative Promoting Our Rich Local Food Economy

After being a pastry chef for nearly 12 years, Emily Savage came down with Lyme disease. She recovered, but it left her unable to eat white sugar or white flour—a particularly harsh side effect for a baker. Not ready to live a life without breads, rolls, cinnamon buns, pastries, or cookies, she started creating new recipes that used alternative ingredients. Her creations not only tasted better with ancient grains and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup—they’re more wholesome.

From this experience, Emily created Savage Wheat Project and Savage Wheat Bakery, a local bakery with big plans for the future, and a passion for promoting, creating and eating locally grown foods.

Savage Wheat relies on using simple, superior ingredients, and it’s no coincidence that many of her ingredients are sourced from Western New York farms. Gathering flour, maple syrup, fruits, vegetables, honey, seeds, and more from over 18 farms all over the region, Savage Wheat is passionate about preserving, strengthening, and growing the robust local food economy of WNY.

Making food for somebody is a gift,” says Emily. “Being a part of your community by supporting your community is just so rewarding.”

Photo by John English

Currently renting kitchen space from another local food business, Savage Wheat sources from small farming areas spread out across Western New York while she works towards securing her own facility and farmland in the next few years. 

From spelt flour hotdog rolls, sourdough crackers, and pesto tarts to cinnamon buns, fruit pastries, cookies, and seeded snack bars, Savage Wheat creates products that combine and represent the very best of the abundance of the Western New York harvest.

Photo by John English

“Consumers can really taste the difference in my baked goods, especially from using whole flour, maple, and honey, and pastured lard.”

For Emily, being a local food producer is an honor. “You not only get to use other people’s products to make your own products, but you get to feed your community.”

Photo by John English

Beyond supporting Savage Wheat, choosing to support local businesses like Emily’s is part of a sweeping initiative to buy and eat more locally grown and produced food.  When we buy our food from local farmers and producers, we are supporting what they do and ensuring they will be around for years to come.     

Eat Local WNY wants to help inspire and encourage people to invest more of their food dollars locally and commit to supporting our local farmers and food producers through year-round patronage. Eat Local WNY is an initiative funded by an LFPP USDA Grant and administered by FreshFix, a Buffalo-based business that delivers fresh, local produce and groceries to customer’s doorsteps. 

Supporting local farmers and producers offers a number of benefits. When you buy local food, you are keeping your money in your community. Every dollar you spend goes to people who are your neighbors and stays circulating within the Western New York economy.

Buying local food is also the best way to protect our communities from food scarcity, global supply disruptions and illness from food recalls.  Food grown in our region doesn’t have to be shipped long distances, which minimizes the number of things that can go wrong. 

Did you know that Western New York has fantastic soil for growing crops? Our local farmers aren’t just growing food—they’re stewards of the land. Smaller, more local farms are committed to the care and sustainability of their land, deploying responsible farming practices that allow for long-term harvesting of fruits, vegetables, and grains.  

And if you’re not convinced by sustainability and community investment, consider the most often cited reason for buying local—it just tastes better. When fruits and vegetables are allowed to grow and ripen naturally, and picked at the peak of their season, it’s a very different experience from what you may be used to picking up from a big chain grocery store. They offer improved nutritional value and often taste more vibrant and fresh!

To do your part to support local food, Eat Local WNY is asking people to take the Eat Local WNY Food Pledge. The pledge is a commitment to yourself to spend at least 10% of your food budget at a local level—or, if you’re already shopping locally, to increase your local food budget by 10%. Eat Local WNY will offer options to track your purchases and send encouragement, tips, and suggestions of ways to access and enjoy local options.

If you’re wondering where to start, the good news is that this is the perfect time of year to explore local food! As much of our produce is coming into season, farmers markets are beginning to burst with bright, flavorful fruits and vegetables. Check out eatlocalwny.org for resources on where and how to access local food—including local farmers markets, year-round farm stores, and restaurants that source local ingredients.

As for Emily Savage, she says that for now, the farmers market, local farm stores and FreshFix are the best way to find and purchase her products. “I love when kids are brought to the markets! I love to see the smiles on their faces and know that the food is actually good for them as well.”

Savage Wheat products can be found at local markets and retailers all over WNY. On a Saturday morning, you’re likely to find her at the Hamburg Farmers Market. On Sundays, at the Hometown Market in East Aurora. Her products fly off the shelves at local retailers like the Farm Store on Lexington Ave. in Buffalo, or Thorpe’s Organic Farm Store on Strykersville Rd. in East Aurora. She also has a strong following with FreshFix customers for those looking for delivery. 

Visit eatlocalwny.org to learn more about the initiative, hear more stories like Emily’s, and learn how you can do your part to grow a healthy, thriving WNY food community!

Photo by John English

This series is sponsored by Eat Local WNY.

Eat Local WNY is an initiative aimed at increasing local food consumption in WNY. We believe food connects a community, and everyone in that community plays a role in making sure we have a healthy, sustainable food system. Growers grow and harvest produce, while being good stewards of the land. Producers source their ingredients from local growers and create food products we all want to eat. And consumers support growers and producers by buying their products at farmers markets, farm stands, through CSAs or through FreshFix, a local food delivery service. When we all do our part, our community thrives. Because when we buy local, we all grow local. eatlocalwny.org

The initiative is supported by FreshFix and the University of Buffalo, Department of Community Health through funding by the USDA.

The post Meet Savage Wheat Project, a Local Food Producer Leading the Charge for Eat Local WNY: An Initiative Promoting Our Rich Local Food Economy appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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