Garden City

There’s much going on in Europe centering on living life without crude oil while reducing electric use and waste generation. In Germany, Great Britain, and other countries there, solar polar and clean energy are top priorities, and sustainability is not just a buzzword, but an employed strategy.

On the food front, there was a recent conference in England that focused on planning for urban farming. Speakers discussed the challenges of transforming London into a food-producing urban city. Check out this column for the full report.

For London, the hurdles are huge. After all, it’s a big city. But I wonder if such concept would work in a small place, like Kingston. In some respects, we’ve already taken the first few steps. Rebecca Martin and the garden committee of the Kingston Land Trust promote community, city and school gardens as well as Victory Gardens for homeowners. Their vision is simple: let’s have a food garden at every home and in our schools and parks.

Of course this is a long-term project that takes time, volunteers and support from local municipalities. But the seeds are already planted and the work has begun, which is why volunteering for this effort is a worthwhile endeavor — we need your help for it to grow.

In the meantime, can you imagine Kingston growing enough food to feed all its residents? I can.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Green on Top

Here’s an interesting read in today’s The New York Times about the trend of rooftop gardens and how some cities give tax breaks to owners for planting them. We have at least one in Kingston, at 721 Media Center. Read about it here.

What’s the benefit? As the Times articles notes, rooftop gardens cut down on storm water runoff while also improving a building’s insulation.

Blue in June?

AwostingWhat’s the best thing to do after a heavy rain storm? In my humble opinion, that’s the best time to visit Awosting Falls, pictured here, in nearby New Paltz at Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The falls were raging, and misting cool air all through the woods.

Afterward, I biked around Mohonk Preserve (a permit is required) and was surprised to see blueberries. I don’t remember ever seeing ripe blueberries and blooming moutain laurel occuring at the same time. Do you? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Blue in June!

Looking Back

Jenny Schwartz, of the county planning office, gave a terrific tour of midtown Kingston during the “Make a Difference Day” celebration on Saturday. She described how the design of the high school was inspired by the East Wing of the Louvre and that City Hall took its design from the city hall of Florence, Italy.

Schwartz walked down Henry Street, and explained how midtown grew after the uptown section and Rondout merged into one city over a century ago.

Schwartz said midtown was a vibrant place where small business owners and others lived — folks who prospered by Kingston’s growth as a key manufacturing and transportation hub.

The Friends of Historic Kingston has a great website for anyone looking for more information about the city’s history. Check it out here.

Energy Smart Program at Kingston Library This Saturday

Mid Hudson Energy Smart Communities is holding a workshop at the Kingston Public Library this Saturday, June 13 at 1 p.m. to help homeowners learn about the benefits of a home energy audit, which can reduce home heating bills by up to 40 percent. “Grants for eligible families and loans are available to improve insulation levels, install efficient windows, ENERGY STAR® appliances, and heating and cooling systems,” organizers of the event said in a statement. For more information, see the library’s website here.

While you’re at the website, check out other events and programs planned for the summer, including the summer reading program.

ULA in Need of Volunteers

The student waiting list at the Ulster Literacy Association here in Kingston has reached 100, according to the ULA. As a result, the center is in need of volunteers and has added workshops, set for July 28 to July 30. See the press release here for more information or call 845.331.6837 for more information.

“This workshop is to train adult volunteers to work in a one-to-one tutoring situation with adults who want to improve their reading and writing skills,” the ULA says. “To be a tutor one needs to be a high school graduate or hold a GED. The workshop will include methods and materials, cultural considerations, and discussions concerning the typical needs of persons seeking literacy assistance. We also conduct a jail writing project once a week in the County Jail as well as the Family Literacy Center here on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. We need volunteers to help with these projects as well.”

Making a Green Difference This Saturday

This just in from the organizers of Make a Difference Day:

The Everette Hodge Community Center and Franklin Street (from Broadway to Prospect) will be the site for the Fourth Annual Midtown Make A Difference Day on Saturday, June 13.

This healthy living and community awareness street festival is sponsored by the Ulster County Multi-Service Center at the City of Kingston Everette Hodge Center with the Rose Women’s Care Services, Ulster County Office For the Aging and Kingston CARES, Kingston Area Library and Kingston Boys & Girls Club as well as other local community-based agencies and businesses. There will be live music, a walk through the city from City Hall, exhibits, arts and crafts, a bike safety workshop, face painting, free food and more.

Read more…

Heading Into Summer…

Marina in the Garden
Marina in the Garden

If I could just be a bit selfish for a moment, I’d like to share the image with you here of my daughter Marina. She loves the garden — and picking flowers for Mom, as you can see. Marina tends our strawberry patch and helps weed and water the garden. It’s wonderful to see a child connect to the earth in a simple and gratifying way. Hope you are enjoying this spring, and look forward to summer as much as I do.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

History Docks at Kingston

The masts of the Nina and Pinta.
The masts of the Nina and Pinta.

If you get a chance, head down to see the replicas of the Nina and Pinta at the Kingston waterfront. The historic ships are docked at the Hudson River Maritime Museum and well worth the $7 tour fee. The ships are here until tomorrow, June 8. On Wednesday, though, the waterfront hosts a Henry Hudson Quad celebration with a fleet of historic boats and live music. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. at the museum. Call (845) 338-0071 for more info.

Nature on the Trails

Rail Trail near the Rosendale-New Paltz Border
Rail Trail near the Rosendale-New Paltz Border

I’m lucky to know Julie and Steve Noble, environmental educators at the Forsyth Nature Center as well as board members of the Kingston Land Trust. Yesterday, the three of us biked down to New Paltz from Kingston and along the way I was treated to their expert knowledge of all things about the environment.

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