Team Grassroots Gardens: Sharing Stories to Celebrate a Mission

Outdoor portrait of Aliaya Williams, on a bright sunny day.

A team in our very own sophomore living learning community is planning a project that will help a local organization celebrate and communicate their amazing impact on the Buffalo community. Kateryna (Kat) Semenova (computer science and cognitive science, left), Emmalee Sherman (intended nursing, middle) and Abby Grabowski (biomedical engineering, right) were all looking for ways to make a difference and gravitated towards Grassroots Gardens and its mission.

“Grassroots Gardens is an organization that works with a bunch of volunteers and a couple dedicated gardeners to revitalize the city of Buffalo and take spaces that were vacant lots or eyesores and turn them into gardens,” Abby describes. But as Kat notes, they really try to focus on the community, letting them identify lots that could be transformed into gardens and then providing them with the resources to get started. “It’s really about the community leading itself, what you can do in your community,” she says.

This year is Grassroots Gardens’ 25th anniversary, and the organization would like to make a documentary to help celebrate the occasion. The problem is, they have no documentation of their story or the gardeners and communities that make their vision possible. Kat, Emmalee and Abby are planning to help them by interviewing some of their gardeners to tell their stories as part of Grassroots’ larger story. They hope to also get some footage and possibly make some promotional materials that will help the organization produce and spread the word about their documentary.

The team is excited to start getting creative and sharing Grassroots Gardens’ mission and impact with a wider audience. “I’m interested in hearing the gardeners’ stories and why they’re working in the gardens,” says Emmalee. “I grew up in rural PA, so I know how nice it is to go outside and pick my own tomato or cucumber and not have to go to the store. I want to see how other people feel about having these gardens and how they use them.”

Kat, Emmalee and Abby are thrilled to be making a difference in their local community and are enjoying their LLC experience so far. Find out more about the ELN Sophomore Living Learning Community on our website and see how you can be part of a program that makes an impact!

Written by Amanda Hellwig ’19