pictured VISIONARY: Alexander Wright (center) the co-op’s founder during recent press conference
A Press Conference was called last week for public and private investment into the African Heritage Food Co-op and 238 Carlton Street at the Carlton street building. Supporters included the Fruit Belt Advisory Council, African Heritage Food Co-op, Black Love Resists in the Rust, Fruit Belt Community Land Trust, and Fruit Belt leaders and residents
The supporting organizations released the following statement:
The Fruit Belt is a historically Black neighborhood that has been disinvested in and red lined for decades. In recent years, it has been under constant threat of speculative gentrification brought on by its close proximity to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The Fruit Belt community organized a successful campaign to found the first-ever Community Land Trust in the city of Buffalo in 2017 to practice self-determination and community resilience, including access to permanently affordable housing and control of the commercial corridor to support businesses of and from the community. In 2018, the Fruit Belt called for the preservation of 238 Carlton Street and for it to be transferred to the African Heritage Food Co-op.
The solution that it offered then as it does now: to provide healthy, fresh, affordable, and culturally relevant food to the neighborhood while providing living wage jobs for people in the immediate community, and a food secure neighborhood on Buffalo’s perpetually food insecure East Side. In the wake of the white supremacist attack on Tops.This request for private and public investment must be expedited.
The people of the Fruit Belt neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods need and deserve food access, equity, and justice now!