Visiting Common Roots Urban Farm

By Madeleine Kates

Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood is an unexpected place to find a lush farm with rows of crops and chickens that lay eggs daily. But that is exactly where you’ll find Common Roots Urban Farm, a half-acre of country living on Buffalo’s East Side. Owners Terra Dumas and Joshua Poodry dreamed of being farmers, and set down roots where there was available land close to home.

Dumas, who originally studied teaching, caught the farming bug on an extended trip to Maine. Common Roots started organically after she returned home, close to South Buffalo where she was born and raised. This farm is the real deal, not an experiment or demonstration project for school groups to tour. It is an actual working farm that thrives off of the produce they grow and sell. Nearly ten years in, and they are living their dream.

What makes Common Roots special is that it was the first local urban farm to have a well dug on the property. At 65 feet deep, it provides enough water to irrigate all of the crops without the need for municipal water, making the farm self-sufficient.

Common Roots, along with other urban farms, works with Farmer Pirates Compost LLC (Farmer Pirates) for compost pick-ups from homes and businesses throughout Western New York. Composting diverts plant-based food waste from landfills, and instead uses it to make rich soil. Compost is also available to purchase for at-home use or for local farms.

As with any farm, the work is sunup to sundown throughout the growing season. In the off season, when the snow is flying and there are no crops to tend, Dumas and Poodry study the seed catalogs and work with Farmer Pirates to continue to build a base of rich soil so the seeds they buy will thrive in the next growing season. Many of the practices they use are natural and organic, and are intended to use the land sustainably and responsibly so that the farm will be productive for years to come.

Western New Yorkers know about many of the exciting things going on in Buffalo, but most would be surprised to learn about what is going on just to the east of the downtown core at Common Roots Urban Farm. Check out their website to learn more about this working urban farm, and how you can enjoy local produce grown in the City of Buffalo.

For information about the farm visit:

For information about Farmer Pirates Compost Pickup Service visit:

Madeleine Kates is a Senior at Niagara University pursuing Majors in Life Sciences, Psychology, and Environmental Studies.