As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, Canisius College commits itself to promote education, reflection, and action to care for our global, common home. One way the Canisius community is engaging in environmental justice is its development of a community garden, called “Where East Meets West,” located on Lafayette Ave, half a block west of Main Street.

The founders’ hope is this: that the garden can serve as a living nexus where the College and the neighborhoods meet and interact on common ground, fingers dirty, conversation wandering, in fruitful chaos and a bit of sweat. For the garden to be a physical, social, economic, nutritional hole in the borders keeping college and neighborhood apart.

At least 50 students, faculty, and staff have been involved in the garden since its inception three years ago. Community partners today include PS 17, PS 74, the Somali-Bantu Community Organization, the Oxford Square Block Club, and the Congolese refugee community. There have also been several classes and student organizations from Canisius. The group is hoping to get gardeners and hopefully, an official partnership with the Hamlin Park Taxpayer’s Organization.

To read about the garden’s design goals and sustainability efforts on their website:

Dr. Nancy Rourke, Associate Professor of Religious Studies & Theology, and one of the founders of the garden, suggests ways you or your students can become involved:
“We need lots of help at the site in the summers, early fall, and late spring! In February, March, and April we would be working on planting seeds and tending to the seedlings indoors. Classes can take place at the site for all kinds of disciplines, and we need help in distributing produce that’s grown. Some help in finding and building partnerships with organizations that can get the garden’s veggies to hungry mouths would be very useful. We need help in keeping the social media presence up and going, and some assistance in attending the neighborhood meetings of the two block clubs would also be useful. Some help in networking with other garden efforts around Buffalo would be good.”

The East Meets West Community Garden is just one of many environmental sustainability efforts the college is currently taking on. This collaborative effort between many in the Canisius and Buffalo communities teaches ecological awareness, sustainable practices, and seeks to build bridges.

To get involved, or to find out more information about the garden, please contact or check out their blog: