Kingston YMCA Farm Project Host Fundraiser on May 18th at 8:00pm.

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 The first fundraiser for the Kingston YMCA Farm Project is planned.  The event will take place on Saturday, May 18th at 8:00pm at the Shirt Factory located at 77 Cornell Street in Kingston. 
 
Kingston, NY –  A new farm project is underway at Kingston’s YMCA located off of Susan Street in Kingston.  Their mission is to educate and empower young people by directly engaging them in sustainable food production on an “urban farm”. Youth will learn and practice the skills needed to produce their own food and to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime, while increasing the community’s access to fresh produce.
 
Led by first generation organic farmer Kaycee Wimbish who is also managing the South Pine Street City Farm in 2013 in Midtown Kingston, the location already hosts 33 community garden plots and a greenhouse on almost 1 acre of land. 
 
The groups first fundraiser party will take place on Saturday, May 18th at 8:00pm located at the Shirt Factory,  77 Cornell Street in Kingston. There will be live music provided by Pocatello and the Rosendale Brass band. DJ Liz will also provide music, and Keegan Ales will provide the beer. A suggested donation of $10 – $20 will be collected, but noone will be turned away. The group encourages all supporters to give what they can. 
 
If you can’t attend but wish to give a donation, you can do so by following this LINK.


For more information, contact KayCee Wimish at: kaycee.wimbish@gmail.com  or call  845/332-2927

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About the Kingston YMCA Farm Project:  This fall we will break ground on a quarter acre farm in Midtown Kingston.  The farm will be a place of education and community food production. The Farm Project will engage young people in the magical process of growing food. With planned integration into the YMCA’s on-site afterschool and summer camp programming, the farm will train 200 young farmers each season. Children will be involved in all aspects of food production and garden care: seeding, transplanting, watering, weeding, harvesting, and ultimately preparing and enjoying the harvest. YMCA Farm Project participants will know exactly where their food comes from, how it grows, and the energy and effort it takes to arrive on a plate. Children participating in this program and the wider community will gain access to fresh, healthy, chemical-free food as the result of the YMCA Farm Project.

 

An Ode to Farmer Jesica Clark.

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Photo by Dion Ogust

Over the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people. But none as dear and few as great as Farmer Jesica Clark.

I met her years ago, when she approached me to help as a consultant to the Kingston City Hall Victory Garden back in 2007, a project that was a 10×10 foot raised bed organic garden on City Hall grounds –  pretty unprecedented  – with the support of then Mayor Jim Sottile and former city clerk Kathy Janeczek who sadly passed in 2009.

Jesica was a young first generation farmer , who was working as the head farmer of Phillies Bridge Farm Project in Gardiner, NY – and I was so pleased to have her support and to pick her brain on how to make this project successful then. Allyson Levy of Stone Ridge also volunteered at that time, who has since become  a master gardener through the Cornell Cooperative Extension program and is co-owner of Hortus Conclusus. With such help, I couldn’t go wrong.

When I took post at the Kingston Land Trust as Executive Director back in 2010, Jesica got in touch with me again – as she was moving to Kingston and was looking for land to farm hoping for 10 acres. All I had then to offer was a small 1/4 acre parcel in the midtown area thanks to Binnewater Ice who had donated the land and a partnership with the wonderful Diane Reeder and the Queens Galley.

The space came with a free water source,  and I convinced her that creating a ‘farm’ on a small parcel could help Kingston to learn the benefits of urban farming.

She ran with it and moved away from her desired farm space and within a few weeks, Jesica had a three year business plan and a fundraising platform on Kickstarter. Very soon after, we negotiated a lease, a sublease – and she raised almost $6,000.00 to make the ‘farm’ concept a reality. The South Pine Street City Farm was born.

…and it was completely Jesica’s invention.  A space that grew over 150 varieties of vegetables with an educational component. In addition, she took on the task of developing ‘The Dig Kids – an Urban Farm Program” with me that in the past two years has successfully worked to transform the Everette Hodge Center garden and new garden plots at the Van Buren Street playground that not only educated each of us, but also dozens of children and their families in farming practices with the invaluable help of Megan Weiss of Kingston Cares who is someone else I hold in the highest esteem.  She started a farm stand (that Hugh Cummings built for free) selling her beautiful produce to the community three days a week at the farm, got involved with the Kingston’s Farmers market’s in uptown and midtown – and also developed a farm to table program providing vegetables to local businesses all over Kingston.

Jesica is one of the most hardworking people I know. But on top of it all, she has a deep understanding of how things work and is a savvy business woman. What’s more is her ‘can-do’ attitude that makes the impossible possible, with a personality that all of us have simply fallen in love with.

But her vision in being completely sustainable through farming a larger parcel is her dream – and she found such a space across the river. Although I am very happy for her, it is also with great sadness for me to see her leave Kingston.  She and her husband Daniel Clark (of Prime Print Shop in Poughkeepsie, who has also been essential and generous to our efforts) are the kind of residents that you  lose with a heavy heart.

Jesica Clark has put Kingston on the map on the Urban Agriculture front – something that is critical for us in this current climate. She has helped to remind us all something that our grandparents knew but has been lost in only two generations. We must grow our own food, help one another and do so with grace, beauty – and simplicity.

Her additional gift to our city is that she attracted another first generation farmer to Kingston – Kaycee Wimbish and her family – who will take over the South Pine Street City Farm, the Dig Kids Program and work towards a new and larger farm at the YMCA.  Because of Jesica, we will continue to pursue urban agriculture to benefit our community and continue to be a model for other Hudson River cities.

Thank you, Jesica.  For all of your hard work and in helping to make us more healthy and thoughtful citizens.

Rebecca Martin

Hudson Valley Seed Library “Pack Art 2011” Featured at KMOCA in Kingston

The Hudson Valley Seed Library is one of my favorite local businesses in the region – and they are about to show their new ‘pack art 2011’ at KMOCA in Kingston.

Hope you can make it –

Rebecca Martin

The Hudson Valley Seed Library strives to do two things – to create an accessible and affordable source of regionally-adapted seeds that is maintained by a community of caring farmers and gardeners; and, to create gift-quality seed packs featuring works designed by New York artists in order to celebrate the beauty of heirloom gardening.

In 2011, we expect to offer over 60 varieties of locally grown seed and around 100 varieties sourced from responsible seed houses. Most of our varieties are rooted in the history and soils of New York or are chosen because they do well here. Every year we plan on growing additional varieties on the Seed Library farm and contracting with organic and certified naturally grown farmers in the Hudson Valley and upstate New York to grow even more varieties.  By 2014, we aim to be 100% New York grown, though certain tricky biennials may be holdouts for a few years beyond.

At KMOCA (Kingston Museum of Contemporary  Arts), they will present “Pack Art 2011” – Original art from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Opening reception:
Saturday, November 6, 5-7pm.

Dreaming is an essential part of gardening in the Northeast. Throughout the winter, our dreams will hold the flavors, fragrances and beauties of the greener seasons. And the Hudson Valley Seed Library is here to help keep those dreams alive until springtime with “Pack Art 2011” at the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts.

“Pack Art 2011” is a an exhibit of original works commissioned by the Seed Library, which is known almost as well for their artistic seed packs as the seeds themselves. This year’s artists come from all over the Hudson Valley and New York City. Each artist interpreted one variety of herb, flower, or vegetable from the Seed Library’s catalog. Mediums include collage, encaustics, oil, watercolor, digital imagery, paper cutting, and ink. The diversity of the artworks reflects the wide variety of genetic wonders they represent.

16 different artists present works depicting such summer delights as Kaleidoscope Carrots, Velvet Queen Sunflowers, Ragged Jack Kale, State Fair Zinnias, and many more. This show marks the first time the Seed Library will be making available signed, limited edition prints of the original works in the show. Art Packs filled with seeds and framed seed packs will also be available.

“Pack Art 2011” continues at KMOCA through November 27th.

Hours: Saturdays, 12 to 4pm, or by appointment.

Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts
103 Abeel Street, Kingston.

A Farm Grows in Kingston

By Rebecca Martin

Kingston Land Trust partners Diane Reeder (The Queens Galley) and Diane Davenport (Binnewater Ice)  approved the mission and business plan for turning the South Pine Street Garden into a ‘Farm’ under the stewardship of Farmer Jesica Clark.

Community outreach and a press release will be available in the coming months. In the meantime, Jesica will begin preparing the plot in it’s entirety to include erecting a fence, doing soil tests, bringing in compost and other augmentation and trimming/removing trees in preparation for planting in 2011.

A working mission, partnerships and collaboration and bio of Farmer Clark is below. The garden name will change to reflect the farm’s mission.

If you wish to make an early donation towards this project, you can do so through the Kingston Land Trust.



Those who worked to farm this location during the 2010 season should be directed to Jesica while she is devising a new system for the space. If anyone is interested in working with Jesica this fall please email her directly as well.   jesicaclark21@gmail.com

If you have any additional technical questions at this time, please feel free to contact the Kingston Land Trust  at rebecca@kingstonlandtrust.org or call their office:  845/877-5263.

This is exceptional news for the garden movement in the City of Kingston.

Mission

The South Pine Street Garden will serve as a model of urban agriculture for the city of Kingston and beyond.  A small scale market garden will show that agriculture can thrive in an urban environment and the site will be a place of learning as well as teaching for community organizations, businesses and schools.

Partnerships, Collaboration, Community

The garden and its growers will work in partnership with individuals and organizations in the community to achieve a garden and food based network.   Partnerships include: Binnewater Ice Company, The Queen’s Galley and the Operation Frontline Program, the community (*) and the Kingston Land Trust.

In particular, an extraordinary partnership between the garden and the upcoming restaurant “Rosemary” is planned wherein the garden would provide featured produce to this high profile, innovative Kingston restaurant and the garden would also serve as a learning space for the restaurant staff.

(*)  We will encourage members of the community to participate in the garden through volunteerism, workshops and organized garden “work and play” parties.

Farmer Jesica Clark Bio

Jesica Clark has worked in farming and small scale agriculture for eight years.  She has organized community gardens, managed a small diversified farm in the Hudson Valley and worked for several for-profit as well as not-for-profit, educational farms.  Having grown up in New York City and apprenticed in central Pennsylvania, she has experience in both urban culture and rural living. She is comfortable working with all members of a community and feels that good food is integral not only to physical health but also to social health.

Free Mulch From the City of Kingston

Mulch and other garden augmentations are a multi-million dollar business, so I’ve often wondered with the city of Kingston’s yard waste problems why it didn’t process and sell it back to the county for profit. I suppose one day, it may decide to do so. In the meantime, get all the mulch you need….for free.

The Dept. of Public Works will be offering City residents free mulch at the transfer station on the blvd., effective immediately.  It has been approx. 3 months since our brush pile was mulched and we have been turning it over, so it is now ready to be given away.  We will require residents to load their own barrels, pickups etc.    

We can load vehicles w/the appropriate cab covers such as small dump trucks provided that people contact the transfer station in advance. 

A banner is going on the B’way overpass to notify residents of the availability.    

Please advise people of this availability and suggest to them that they contact the transfer station prior to pick up, at 331-5787.

Kingston’s Role in a Global Movement

One of the sessions last night. Photo by Norman Stockwell of WORT radio.

By Arthur Zaczkiewicz

The convergence of activists working for human rights, health care reform, climate change, and social justice, among others is happening right now in Detroit, Mich. Over 20,000 people have flocked to the Motor City this week for the US Social Forum to exchange ideas, participate in people’s movement assemblies (PMAs) and attend (and present) 1,000s of workshops with topics ranging from grassroots networking to change immigration law to learning how to mobilize citizens for better access to public funds.

Read more…

South Pine Street Garden Makes First Food Donation to Queens Galley

Farmer Frank and Rebecca Martin making a delivery of turnip greens to the Queens Galley from the South Pine Street Garden. Photo credit: Kevin McEvoy

The South Pine Street Childrens/Community Garden off of Greenkill Avenue in Ward 5 made a large food donation of Turnip Greens to Queens Galley.

Read more…

Garden Volunteers: We Need You

By Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Earlier this month I attended a conference in North Carolina relating to the national effort behind the local “Healthy Kingston for Kids” project, which aims to reverse childhood obesity through environmental and policy change. It was a “mind-opening” experience to meet others working on the same issues from places such as Buffalo, Oakland and Chicago.

Read more…

Free Showing of the Film “Food, Inc” at UPAC Tomorrow Night (4/30)

Years ago, I had the privilege to work for Ev Mann of the Center for Creative Education. At that time, their headquarters were in Stone Ridge, NY.  Coming up from New York City as a musician with a background in Production Management, it was my good fortune to have seen their ad for someone like me to assist the Administrative Director, Mary Farel.

Those couple of years were two of the most fulfilling in my professional life.

Although Ev has had close ties working with the children and schools in the city of Kingston, he moved his operation from Stone Ridge into Midtown back in 2005/2006 where he continues to bring music, culture, dance and drums to the youth and families in our area.

On Friday night (4/30) The Center for Creative Education in partnership with Active Voice and Participant Media bring a FREE screening of the ever important film FOOD INC to UPAC in the city of Kingston.  Click on this LINK to see the flyer for this event.

On the ground, we are witnessing alarming numbers in childhood obesity – yet at the same time, 1 in 8 children will go hungry each and every day.

It’s critical that as a community, we work to change our daily habits. In Kingston, every one of our schools (and I believe there are 14) will have some form of garden in them. That’s a huge accomplishment that has taken place in just two years time.

Gardens are the buzz word in Kingston. Let’s continue to nurture them and encourage our children to get growing at home and at school.  Take your family and visit a local farm, and pick something fresh off the vine to taste.

There is nothing quite like it.

– Rebecca Martin


SchoolgardenreourcesinNYC

Kingston Natural Foods

Hudson Valley Seed Library

CSA’s in the Hudson Valley: From Chronogram Magazine

Square Foot Gardening Presentation at the Kingston City Hall Garden TODAY (4/17)

Kingston High School student successfully plants the Kingston City Hall garden last season (2009)

Today at 1:00pm (4/17)  there is a square foot gardening presentation at the Kingston City Hall garden located on the Northwest side of the building.  Jesica Pascual who was once a farmer at Phillies Bridge Farm will lead the way. Though wet, it’s a really nice day to be out in the garden. I know because I just came in from mine.

You can read the press release by visiting the Kingston Victory Garden Yahoo! Group (and if you are a local home gardener you might wish to become a member of the group as well). We will also cut and paste it below.

– Rebecca

Learn Square Foot Gardening During Free Workshop at City Hall Garden

Jesica Pascual, volunteer garden manager of the City Hall Victory Garden, will lead a free workshop to on square foot gardening this Saturday, April 17 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The garden is located on the west side of City Hall, which is located on Broadway across from the Kingston High School.

The workshop is designed for anyone looking to learn square foot, or French intensive gardening, which allows gardeners to grow the maximum amount of vegetables in the minimum amount of space and is perfect for backyard (or front yard!) gardens. Square foot gardening is the method being used this year at the City Hall site as a way to encourage residents to grow their own food.

“Using this method, it is also easy to incorporate beautiful flowers and landscaping elements such as trellising and decorative borders,” Pascual said adding that she will cover the basics in setting up a garden plot, planning out the space and where to get high-quality ingredients for soil as well as seeds and transplants.

At the end of the workshop there will be a short swap and share session where fellow gardeners can swap seeds and share resources – so please bring your extra or leftover seeds.

For more information, contact the Kingston Land Trust at Kingstonlandtrust@yahoo.com.

Upgrading the YMCA Playground by Making Community and Children’s Gardens

This just in! I am so happy to learn of the news, as that play area is really beautiful and completely underutilized.

Good news indeed.

– Rebecca Martin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 6, 2010

Citizen Help Sought for YMCA Park Clean up and Garden Projects

DEP volunteers launch initiative at YMCA playground that includes creating community and childrens gardens.

Employees from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection office in Kingston have volunteered to clean up the YMCA playground as well as install a community garden and children’s garden at the site, which is behind the YMCA building on Broadway in Midtown. The coordinators are conducting the first cleanup this Saturday, April 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and need community volunteers to help.

The work involves making repairs to the jungle gym as needed, cleaning up trash at Summer and Susan streets, and removing brush, dead limbs and trees as well as removing invasive plants. Additional cleanups are also planned in the coming weeks.

For more information about the clean up as well as to help out with the garden project, contact Ed Blouin at eblouin@hvc.rr.com or by calling him at (845) 616-2677.

For more information about other community garden projects in Kingston, contact Arthur Zaczkiewicz of the Kingston Land Trust at zaczkiewicz@yahoo.com.

The Meagher Elementary School Garden Need Volunteers

The Meagher Elementary School is seeking a few volunteers to help turn soil in two garden beds next week while school is on recess. Anyone interested in helping should contact Jen Farmer at jenfarmer23@gmail.com. Volunteers need to bring shovels and gloves.

Farmer said the Kiwanis Club has offerd to build the raised bed boxes. “We can still use more help maintaining the garden over the summer as well as harvesting food for donation,” Farmer said in a recent update note to officials adding that Nell Donovan, Meagher librarian, has “volunteered to house and catalog garden related books for students and resources for teachers in the school library.”

Farmer said the garden site is “on a flat, grassy patch behind the school.  There is plenty of room for a few beds and room to expand in the future. We have also discussed putting in a pumpkin patch on the hill, next to the flower garden.”

Julie Noble, environmental educator for the City of Kingston and co-chair of the Community and School Garden Committee, will be coming to Meagher in early April to meet with staff interested in working on the garden.