UB alumna leads Buffalo Freedom Gardens.
By CHARLOTTE HSU Published July 13, 2022
Summer is here, and with the arrival of the growing season, an initiative called Buffalo Freedom Gardens has given dozens of residents of Buffalo’s East Side neighborhoods a free raised bed garden.
On a Saturday in June, volunteers including UB Food Lab members joined Freedom Gardens founder Gail V. Wells to make the last of this year’s deliveries.
The team packed cedar wood planters, each expected to last at least a decade, into a U-Haul truck, along with bags of soil. Freedom Gardens recipients also get seeds and vegetable seedlings, garden gloves, a bright green watering can, and instructions on caring for the plants.
Each garden is a thing of joy — and an act of liberation, says Wells, a UB alumna who remains connected to the university community.
She points out that food has long been central to movements for freedom: “For Black people who are descendants of kidnapped and enslaved Africans, the way we could secure our safety and our families and build an economy for ourselves was first based on us being able to feed ourselves,” she says.