540WMain Receives Rochester Area Community Foundation Grant to Complete Teaching & Nutrition Courtyard

We are pleased to announce that 540WMain is the re.cipient of the Green Cities Grant ($15,000) via the Rochester Area Community Foundation

Dear Community,

This grant provides us with the necessary funding needed to complete the The Nutrition & Teaching Community Courtyard Garden (NTCCG). If you have been following 540WMain closely then you remember that we launched this project in the spring of 2017. Funding has always been the biggest challenge in getting this project completed and now we can finally see the fruits of much labor, time, grit, and community support to culminate in a beautiful space that will enable us to be able to:

  • Hold simultaneous classes inside our community classroom as well as outside
  • Curate dynamic year round programs and curriculum centered around urban sustainability, food preservation, environmental justice, and so much more
  • Cultivate raised beds filled with produce planted by teens and youth as part of the Seneca Park Zoo’s Urban Ecology Program and other community volunteers
  • Cultivate a Pollinator Garden in conjunction with the Seneca Park Zoo
  • Increase revenue by adding an additional event space to be rented by the community at large

Next Steps

After I cry out all the tears of joy and return from my weekend trip (Wilkesbarre, PA) I will begin to coordinate final construction and logistics with Chris Widmaier who has signed on to help us complete the final stages of this project. Chris is an Urban Ecologist and Educator and has been instrumental in seeing us through this final construction phase of this dynamic project.

Special Thanks

This entire project has truly been a team effort from the inception of my initial vision. I am so grateful for all the community hands that volunteered, student interns, and everyone who donated. There are also some very special people that I have helped make this all possible

About the Green Cities Grant

In December 2013, the Community Foundation released a special report: “Poverty and the Concentration of Poverty in the Nine-County Greater Rochester Area.” The report focuses on the nine-county greater Rochester region and examines the level and concentration of poverty within the City of Rochester.

Communities in these census tracts (characterized by high concentrations of poverty) are more likely to exhibit characteristics of environmental neglect, including the social, psychological, and physical effects of living among dilapidated properties. Public green spaces can offer a variety of neighborhood enhancements; such as urban agriculture and recreation; that increase the prospects for sustainable future development, establish opportunities for stewardship in the community, and otherwise contribute vitality to the community. The Foundation is seeking proposals to improve the physical environment in the city of Rochester. The goal is to fund initiatives that engage residents in physically revitalizing neighborhoods that are distressed or on the cusp of becoming distressed. Proposals may be for a piece of a longer-term plan or may entirely fund a small but significant enhancement.

At a Glance

Time Lapse Glance


Nutrition & Teaching Community Courtyard Garden (Time-lapse Longer) from 540WMain Communiversity on Vimeo.

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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