Niagara Gazette

August 26, 2013

NACC community garden project receives $10K state grant

By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A community garden project sponsored by the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center is getting a boost from the state.

The arts center was awarded a $10,000 Environmental Justice grant through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that will pay for educational programming and soil testing at the Walnut Avenue garden.

Kathie Kudela, the executive director of the NACC, said the grant will help the organization provide more information on the benefits of gardening to the people in the community.

“We’re going to continue to expand on the community garden and the educational programming we provide there,” she said.

Kudela, who works in the garden often, said people continually stop by while she is working curious about the garden and how they might get involved. People from the community can come to the garden to learn the basics of growing plants which can make them more food independent and promotes healthy diets.

“It’s a living classroom,” she said. “Whenever I’m over there people come up and ask questions.”

Kudela said the arts center will also commission one of its tenants to build a “community library” on the lot — a small box filled with books and pamphlets — that will help the center disseminate information to neighbors and passers-by.

The garden also helps to make the downtown neighborhood near Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and the NACC more welcoming for people coming into the city, she added.

“It changes people’s perspective on this part of town,” Kudela said.

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257