Campus News

Symposium to consider gardening issues

The Buffalo Garden Symposium will feature discussion on urban agriculture, environmental restoration, gardens, landscape, food policy and historic preservation.


Published September 6, 2012

Whether they are engaged in garden tourism, indigenous “green gardening,” beautifying the yard or reclaiming the area’s historic landscapes, Buffalo is a city of gardeners and garden lovers, and UB’s Gender Institute has a present for them.

In anticipation of October’s “Engendering Gardens,” its extensive 2012 Gender Week program, the Gender Institute will present the Buffalo Garden Symposium on Sept. 21. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Harriman Hall ballroom on the South Campus. The event will include refreshments and lunch, but space is limited so an RSVP is required to Audrey Kubiniak by Sept. 17.

The symposium is a free, public event at which a dozen scholars and community-gardening activists will discuss urban agriculture, environmental restoration, gardens, landscape, food policy and historic preservation.

Panelists will include faculty members from many disciplines at UB and Cornell University, as well as community leaders from Garden Walk Buffalo, the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), Grassroots Gardens, Graycliff (the lakeside retreat designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) and the Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy.

A complete program can be found on the Gender Institute’s website.

The first of two morning panels will be chaired by Kari Winter, professor of American and transnational studies, and director of the Gender Institute.

Participants will be Diane Picard, executive director of MAP, who will discuss the organization’s work in Buffalo’s urban agricultural movement and Samina Raja, UB associate professor of urban and regional planning and a noted food-policy analyst, who will consider how government policies can undermine or facilitate community gardening and urban agriculture.

They will be joined by Donald Grinde, UB professor of American and transnational studies and an expert on Native-American environmental history, who will discuss Native ecological perspectives.

Also on the panel will be ethicist Ken Shockley, UB associate professor of philosophy and director of the new undergraduate Sustainability Academy, who will address environmental ethics and climate change, and Randy Schiff, UB associate professor of English, who will discuss ecocriticism, the interdisciplinary field that considers possible solutions for the correction of the contemporary environmental situation.

The second morning panel, chaired Ewa Pionowska Ziarek, Julian Park Professor of Comparative Literature at UB, will discuss gardens of various kinds and purposes in and around Buffalo.

Panelists will include Jim Charlier, president of Garden Walk Buffalo, who will speak about the history of the Garden Walk event and the future of garden tourism in Buffalo, and Reine Hauser, executive director of Graycliff, who will discuss the restoration of the estate’s historic landscape.

They will be joined by ecological gardener Laura Garofalo Khan, UB assistant professor of architecture at UB, who will speak to ways in which architecture and nature engage one another through the garden, and Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa Api, doctoral student in American and transnational studies, who will present the indigenous tradition of “green,” or ecologically sustainable, gardening.

Afternoon panelists will include Joseph A. Gardella, John and Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry at UB, who will discuss studies of soil contamination important for urban farmers and gardeners in Buffalo; Susannah Barton of Grassroots of Buffalo, who will talk about how grassroots movements have empowered city communities to transform vacant lots into vibrant gardens; Hannah Shayler and Murray McBride, crop and soil sciences experts in the Cornell University Waste Management Institute; and Steven Nagowski, manager of volunteers for Buffalo’s Olmstead Parks Conservancy, who will speak to the conservancy’s volunteers as an important component in its public land-management effort.