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Homes and Community Renewal

Massachusetts Avenue Project Breaks Ground on Farmhouse – Community Food Training & Resource Center

July 14, 2016

Project Moving Forward with More than $1.3 Million from New York State, Designed to Increase Access to Healthy Food, Improve Nutrition in Buffalo Neighborhoods

Buffalo, NY – The Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) broke ground today on its new $2 million, 11,000 square foot Farmhouse, a community food training and resource center.  Located at 387 Massachusetts Avenue, the Farmhouse will be a hub for food and agriculture-based education, resources and volunteer opportunities for Buffalo residents, schools, community gardeners and organizations. The project is moving forward with more than $1.3 million in resources from New York State, including $930,000 in Urban Community Investment Fund and $385,000 from Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).  The MAP Farmhouse was identified as a priority project in 2015 by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development.  

“This project would not be possible without the unwavering commitment and support we have received from our funders.  Our new farmhouse will not only allow us to continue the work that we do in the City, it will also bring regional and national attention to Buffalo.  The farmhouse is the first of its kind in Western NY and is poised to become a National model,” said Diane Picard, MAP’s Executive Director.   

James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Children, families, and the entire city will benefit greatly from the opportunities for healthy local food and economic growth that this innovative project will bring to Buffalo.”

“Agriculture is one of Western New York’s fastest growing sectors and this multi-use, community food hub will further grow our local food system,” said Satish Tripathi, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and University at Buffalo President.  “The WNYREDC identified MAP’s Farmhouse as a priority project because it creates a model for neighborhood-based, sustainable food systems development as a key component of community revitalization.” 

“MAP’s Farmhouse will promote economic growth in Western New York’s agriculture industry by providing job training and resources to the next generation interested in food-related careers,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky.

“WNYREDC is committed to capitalizing on the region’s abundance of resources as we continue to grow the agricultural sector and create more healthy communities,” said Jeff Belt, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SolEpoxy President.   “MAP’s Farmhouse does just that, creating an urban food hub that providing new markets for small farmers and greater access to affordable, nutritious food for residents.” 
The Farmhouse will include a new indoor and outdoor training space, a teaching kitchen, a resource library, improved cold storage, two affordable housing units, and offices, all located at MAP's urban farm at 387 Massachusetts Avenue. 

The Farmhouse will house MAP’s Growing Green program which employs 45-50 youth annually and trains them in urban agriculture and food justice issues. The goal of Growing Green is to create innovative and meaningful, training jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for disadvantaged youth and to increase healthy food access in Buffalo's low-income neighborhoods.

Since 2008, 96% of the high school seniors in MAP’s Growing Green program graduated on time and 95 % have gone onto college, often being the first person in their family to attend college.  Over the past thirteen years, MAP has provided jobs and training to over 650 low-income youth and food nutrition based training to over 12,000 residents, school children and policymakers.  In 2015 alone, MAP sold over 30,000 lbs. of affordable, local, organic produce to over 3,600 low-income customers at 6 market sites across the city.

The project has received support from a diverse base of private and public partners including the Junior League of Buffalo/Buffalo News, Rich Family Foundation, Wegmans, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, James H. Cummings Foundation, Assembly Member Sean Ryan, NYS Empire State Development, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the City of Buffalo, M&T Bank, Peter C. Cornell Trust, City Council Member David Rivera, Simple Gifts Fund, Children’s Foundation of Erie County, and individual donors. 

About New York State Homes and Community Renewal
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) includes the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. 2016 marks the fourth year of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion statewide House NY program, whose goal is to create or preserve 14,300 affordable units by 2018. In 2015, HCR set a record for financing the creation or preservation of more than 11,000 affordable homes and apartments and was the #1 bond issuer in the nation with $2.5 billion issued. The agency stands ready to make good on the Governor’s new $10 billion 100,000 unit House NY 2020 commitment. HCR’s  Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund supports retail, commercial or community facility components of mixed-use affordable housing developments in urban and rural communities statewide, as well as supporting preservation of existing affordable multi-family rental housing in rural areas of the State.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After five rounds of the REDC process, nearly $4 billion has been awarded to more than 4,100 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 165,000 jobs.

For more information about MAP or the new Farmhouse, visit
www.mass-ave.org.