Farmhouse Construction Week 6: Fenced in!

Once all the fence posts were standing and cured around the farm perimeter fence panels were hung.

The longest fence line starts on Brayton Street . . . 

. . . makes a few twists and turns along the southern perimeter of MAP's property . . .

. . . and finishes on Shields street, a block away.

Most of the fence line is board on board fencing, but the portions facing the street are metal. (A side note - the blurs of red in the photo above are red twig dogwood or Cornus sericea. This time of year, when the weather is glum and dreary, their fire-y red branches really stand out! They are a native plant to this area, and are often planted in home gardens.)

This last section of fencing was installed just this morning. Unlike the other sections of fence, this part was built and installed onsite. Doesn't it all look just amazing!

Coming up - moving a telephone pole, digging a very deep hole and other trials of building in the city (during winter). Stay tuned!

Farmhouse Construction Week 4 & 5: Setting fence posts

Part of this project is building a fence around the Mass-Ave property to help keep our farm secure. For the past few weeks fence construction has been marching around the property perimeter; sometimes in mucky clay mud, and sometimes in the hard cold. According to the two guys doing the work, it's a toss up as to which weather situation is worse. 

Once the posts were set in the ground, the concrete bases are allowed to cure for a few days. This takes a bit longer in wet, winter weather than it would during summer months. Once cured fence panels will be hung, and our growing space will be more secure!

Even a thin layer of snow can hide the vast swamps of mud that seem to dominate the farm right now. Soon this space will house construction materials, and allow access for a cement mixer or two!

My 2016 NESAWG experience

By Sophia B

The journey to Hartford Connecticut for the NESAWG conference was a priceless experience. At the conference I got to: meet and mingle with people from all over the state and out, make friends, and learn a lot - not just food justice issues.

Most of the activities that I participated in were part of the youth tracks. In these sessions we got to know what other youth were doing and what can we teach each other. In one youth track session we talked about the election, what we thought about the results and what our next steps would be.

At the conference we were able to give our point of view as teens. We discussed the power we have, or could have, in our communities to make important decisions. I got a chance to present about MAP and the work that we do. For instance, I talked about our farm, the youth garden, our organizing group and the initiatives that we are working on. And while other youth presented we got to learn from them too, like they learned from us.

The last session I attended was grant writing it was an introduction to grants - how you get them and how to write a good proposal. This session was important to me because some of the plans I have in the future might need funding.

The conference theme this year’s was ‘Tackling wicked problems in the food system.’ We learned how you can learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than you do from just getting the answer itself. This is what I hope bring back to Buffalo. Wicked problems cannot be solved right away, you have to study them, take them apart and tackle them step by step.

 As you can see the NESAWG experience for me was a time of innovation but also having fun and thanks for making this wonderful experience possible for me.

Maire is Learning to Budget Her Money

By Maire

My profession during the budgeting workshop [provided by The Service Collaborative of WNY Opportunity Corps] was a barista and my salary was $1,900 a month. The challenges I had staying on budget were that I would overspend on things before I even paid my bills. The expenses I needed to watch more closely were gas and entertainment.

In comparison to how I manage my paycheck [in real life], it's completely different. I don't spend my paycheck at all, I just put it in my savings account. At the moment, I don't pay any bills.

To make sure I have enough money, I make certain that I save my money for anything really super important that I might have to buy. I also make sure I really want something before I buy it so that its not an impulse buy.

My Market Experience

By Win

My visit [to the Elmwood Bidwell Farmers Market] was very educational. I've been to markets like that when I was little, with my mom, but then we stopped. I used to love it because I personally love fruits and she would let me choose a quart box of anything I wanted and I would be the littlest, happiest girl in the world. So it was like a flashback and it was cool to see it again.

I learned about many different farms out there and what they did to care for their animals if they grew them and what they did for their crops. I learned many fruits and vegetables' seasons. It was pretty surprising to me. I saw many things I have never seen or eaten before in my life.

What surprised me was that an employee was very educated and filled in on the company/farm. She had an answer to every question we asked her except one. "What are some challenges you face?" She was only and employee so that's understandable. I didn't really have any expectations. It was overall a cool and educational trip to the market.  I would change the weather, add stone paths, and have water bowls for the dogs.

Sophia's Learning to Budget

By Sophia B

At the Budgeting Workshop [provided by The Service Collaborative of WNY Regional Opportunity Corps], my role was a cab driver. My salary was $2,235 per month which, event though I was single and no one depended on me, I had a hard time budgeting and saving money.

The challenge was whether to eat out or make my own meal. Even though I watched my budget carefully, I still didn't afford as much money as I wanted in my savings account.

The expenses that I had to watch more closely were entertainment and clothing.

I am able to manage my paycheck [in real life] because I don't have to pay rent or mortgage. When I need to make sure I have enough money for everything, I need to budget beforehand.

Messiah's Experience Budgeting Money

By Messiah M

Last week Monday, MAP had a Big Group Meeting (BGM). [Opportunity Corps members from The Service Collaborative of WNY visited]. We learned about budgeting money.

We had fake professions and salaries. We also had fake responsibilities and homes. My pay per month was $4,100. I rented a one bedroom apartment and rent was $1,600. I also had a vehicle I paid $450 per month for and I attended college so that was another $100 per month.

One of the challenges I had with this was trying to keep money to feed myself or have money after costs. I also wanted to be sure I was spending a lot on unnecessary things.

All of my expenses were good except somethings I thought I wouldn't spend as much money as I did.