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Buffalo Co-Lab

skyline of Buffalo

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

Taylor Clarkson

Photo of Taylor Clarkson
BS ILR, 2015
Buffalo, NY
Massachusetts Avenue Project, High Road

Work Highlights

This summer fellow will work with MAP’s Market Director to expand their Growing Green Program, working with teens and volunteers on various enterprises including the Farm Stand, Mobile Market, food education programs, farm tours and field trips.

Student Insights

This summer I learned about the various cultural, political and social challenges that Buffalo faces. Specifically, after working with MAP, I realize the cultural struggles that arise at a simple farm stand. It is difficult for people to adapt their cultural food preferences in order to provide a healthy lifestyle for their families. Meanwhile, it is also economically challenging for these individuals to spend their miniscule wages on fresh food rather than purchase a more filling burger or snack at a corner store. I find that these challenges are faced in most all inner cities, however it is the first time I found myself fully engrossed in the situation.

Coming from a wealthy Northern Jersey region, I was never shown wide community-based organizations. It was an eye-opener to see the power and potential that these communities run organizations can acquire. I gained insight into how these community organizations arise, why they arise, and how they continue their development and expansion. However, I also see how some communities that may be great locations for development have not yet made the proper steps towards unionizing and sparking change. I believe the process starts through the people wanting to change and seeing that they are not alone in their vision. Some communities need that first catalyst in order to yield the results they imagine.

Impact

I believe my service was beneficial to the Greater Buffalo Community. Through my research, I have shown new location sites in which the fresh produce can be distributed. This will immediately impact the people near the location site, providing them with healthy living and fresh affordable food. Hopefully, if these location sites are able to foster new audiences, MAP can continue to expand, receive grant funding and continue to spread across Western NY. 

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