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Buffalo Co-Lab

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Buffalo Co-Lab advances an equitable economy and democratic community, collaboratively integrating scholarly and practical understanding to strengthen civic action.

Ashton O'Connor

Ashton O'Connor Headshot
CALS '23
Buffalo, NY
Grassroots Gardens, High Road

Work Highlights

Researched sustainable funding and land protection strategies for community gardening through a competitive analysis on twelve cities across the nation. The analysis included existing research reports, financial statements, and interviews with key community gardening figures.

Constructed and mapped an equitable,  sliding-scale membership fee model using ArcGIS software to increase annual revenue $30K for Grassroots Gardens.

Pioneered zoning changes and recommended key partnerships to strengthen land protection for community gardens in Buffalo.

Summarized key findings and case studies in a 60-page research report and presented my recommendations to the Board of Directors.


Summer Takeaway

Throughout the summer, I have gained a glimpse into the tools and strategies community organizations deploy to address the disparities that plague our cities. I have realized how possible it is to create a tangible impact through this line of work. My research has played a small but important role in allowing Grassroots Gardens to combat food apartheid in the Buffalo-Niagara region.


Supervisor Quote

We've been so appreciative of all of Ashton's efforts. His dedication to the cause, detailed research, and willingness to go above and beyond has given us a treasure trove of information to help our organization center itself in the national movement of community gardening. It will also provide us a pathway forward as we fight for land justice and equal access for all community members to green space. We've needed this research for years and now we have it. Thank you Ashton!

- Jeanette Koncikowski