How It All Started

In 2004, a group of people living on Buffalo’s West Side got together to brainstorm around the idea of developing a cooperative garden center in our neighborhood. We wanted to keep our dollars inside our fair city, and we were tired of driving twenty minutes to the suburbs to buy our plants and garden accessories, and at the same time recognized the opportunity for building a business in this up and coming neighborhood, five minutes from any yard on Garden Walk Buffalo. In 2005 we started offering “plant swaps,” polled area residents, and collected surveys. In 2006 we held our first plant and bulb sales featuring organically raised heirloom tomato seedlings. In 2007 we opened our doors at 428 Rhode Island Street, and a year later we celebrated our first birthday.


Our Mission

Urban Roots Community Garden Center is a consumer cooperative business whose mission is to provide quality products for gardening in the City of Buffalo and be an active and enriching member of the community.

• We will offer affordable, unusual, heirloom, organic and local plants, and gardening supplies.

• We will foster a working relationship with the greater neighborhood in order to encourage beautification and urban renewal.

• We will engage the community through education, employment, outreach, expertise, and volunteering efforts.

Urban Roots Bylaws


Our Vision

Urban Roots Community Garden Center will be a model for cooperative garden centers in other areas for enriching the surrounding community.

We’re always trying to serve more members of the community; read all about becoming a Member-Owner here.


Board of Directors

The business and affairs of Urban Roots Community Garden Center shall be managed under the direction of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall make all necessary rules and regulations not inconsistent with law or with these bylaws. The Board of Directors shall have power to hire, oversee, and dismiss a General Manager to coordinate and facilitate the daily functioning of the co-op.

The Board may establish standing and ad hoc committees, including, but limited to, a nominating committee, a marketing and public relations committee, an events committee, a membership committee, a planning and business opportunities committee, and building committee. The Board President shall appoint a chair and co-chair to each standing and active ad hoc committee which will be required to submit a written report at each scheduled board meeting. Each director shall be required to serve on at least one active committee. Committee membership will be open to member-owners not serving as directors. Each board member must purchase a lifetime membership ($100) in Urban Roots within the first year of service. Learn more about becoming a Board Member!

Current board members

  • Onda Simmons – Board Chair
  • J.D. Hartman – Vice Chair
  • Chuck Papia – Treasurer
  • Jeanne Marie Jarka – Secretary
  • Amy Holt
  • Nicole Hooper
  • Andrew Llyod
  • John Lenahan
  • Monique Watts