The Pelion Community Garden was established in 2011, the effort spearheaded by a former City Honors parent who had a vision of turning the four vacant city lots across the street from the school into an environmental learning center and outdoor classroom serving the students of City Honors and the greater school neighborhood.
With start-up money provided by a grant from Seeds of Change and funding from National Grid, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Groundwork Buffalo, we were able to transform the vacant lots into what is now a multi-disciplinary study center and neighborhood gathering place. We are pleased to be under the umbrella of Grassroots Gardens WNY, who holds the lease on our lots and who first acknowledged us as a community garden and school garden in the city of Buffalo.
Over the past seven years the garden has developed into a thriving hub of school activity, with programming that serves students in a variety of academic and arts disciplines. Each year teacher involvement with the garden has grown; in every marking period you can find any variety of classes utilizing the garden for hands-on learning. Some of the classes that have taken lessons directly into the garden are: fifth and sixth grade Science classes, eighth grade Home and Careers, ninth grade Living Environment, seventh grade Art, and STARS (Students with Autism Rising to Success) classes. In addition, every Wednesday during the warmer months a large group of garden club students come out after school for additional lessons and fun in the garden. Furthermore, music students of all grades (vocal, band and orchestra) have consistently been involved in our twice a year celebrations (the fall Sunflower Social and the spring Strawberry Social), providing entertainment for guests.
Teachers work with the Pelion garden manager to develop curricula-based lessons that take advantage of the garden’s distinct features: raised planting beds for growing vegetables and herbs, a native plants perennial garden, a Native American “three sisters” garden, a graded rain garden, fruit tree groves, and a grassy area for group activities and gatherings.
We also work in parallel with the Buffalo Public Schools’ Farm to School Initiative to support their efforts to improve student nutrition through agriculture, health, and nutrition education.