Tuesday, June 9, 2015

a trio of FREE composting workshops

Composting is EZ with Elisa Zazzera! 

attend one, or all! They are FREE but please register here.

Thursday, June 18, 6:30  – 7:30 PM
Thursday, July 16, 6:30  – 7:30 PM
Thursday, July 30, 6:30  – 7:30 PM (this evening will focus on composting for apartment dwellers--including starting a community compost site. Hear about success stories about composting in apartment buildings and complexes! 

The Kitchen Garden @ South Church, near the compost bins! The Kitchen Garden is behind South Church, at 343 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, 10522.

Instead of sending your food and yard scraps to the, incinerator compost them to create ‘black gold’ for your garden, yard and houseplants.  Discover the benefits & joy of “closing the loop” with your own household food scraps in this hands-on demonstration of how easy it is to compost.

In this hour we'll cover what is compostable on your property and the variety of ways to compost as well as the many benefits of composting -how it can save money & help tread lighter on the planet. It's not just for land owners—apartment dwellers can do this too (vermicomposting, machines, and starting a community compost on apartment complex property.

We'll look into the biology (a bit) of composting. Mostly we'll answer your questions and discuss issues you may be having with composting, such as:
  • What type of compost method is best for you
  • Where to locate your compost
  • What to put into your compost (and what to avoid)
  • How to manage your compost
  • Troubleshooting
  • Harvesting your compost
  • Alternatives to a backyard bin - Vermicomposting, Kobashi & possibly finding places to take your compostables

Elisa Zazzera is involved in Sustainability projects and Environmental Activism in the Hudson River Villages as well as India and Nepal. Elisa participates in and manages the Hastings/Stoneledge Farm CSA group. As a member of HoH Conservation Commission she heads the subcommittee on materials management/sanitation.

Elisa is pictured here with her husband James Dean Conklin. Together they run GreenheadMedia.org

Monday, June 8, 2015

What do we want?

What plants and trees should we be putting along our streets and in our yards? How can we ensure access to fresh, affordable local food?

These were some of the questions posed to Dobbs Ferry during the May 3 "Community Conversation" about Gardens, Trees and Local Food, hosted by Sustainable Dobbs.

We wanted to share the feedback with you particularly because we're using it to shape and inform Roots & Wings vision for serving the community. Want to get involved? Let us know!
  1. Classes re gardens (Getting started, protecting gardens from critters, preserving)
  2. Village composting
  3. Mulch in place
  4. Town could buy leaf shredder
  5. Village code needs to require developers to plant certain number of trees (or preserve existing ones)
  6. How is DF tree commission working? Can improvements be made?
  7. Pursue TreeCity USA designation; DF has tiny budget for planting trees
  8. High Street Park- what is the right amount of clearance?
  9. What is the carbon impact of removing mature trees? Are there types of shrubs, trees that are better at absorbing carbon?
  10. Trees along Cedar and Main need attention
  11. True pruning can be done in way that unifies streetscape
  12. Village should hire tree specialist; Town of Greenburgh has one
  13. Belden Ave—1 day when an arborist or contractor does audit/estimate on street trees
  14. Is there interest in creating community gardens? Is there space? Next to Aqueduct trail trailer? at the Juhring Estate? At Memorial Park? the new High Street Park? at the schools but for the broader community? Get seniors involved, too.
  15. Do inventory of farmable land
  16. Seed saving groups—create seed bank; have 1 plot for plants to go to seed (for seed collection only)
  17. Outreach, developing plan and framework for community garden key to success. Once people become more aware of issues related to local food, climate change
  18. How can existing trees be protected.  Trees are damaged by village mowers in parks
  19. Raise awareness of importance of trees. Trees are an investment
  20. Environmental education re trees—tree tour, nature walks in schools and communities
  21. Take into account flood patterns impact of weather on new gardens, trees, etc

Roots & Wings emerged out of the Dobbs Ferry Task Force on Energy and the Environment, (which subsequently became Sustainable Dobbs). Back in 2010, the Dobbs Ferry Energy Task Force hosted a gathering in which the need for a group to lead the way--to show how to compost, collect water, garden emerged. Roots & Wings was formed, in part, to be that group. Read more here.

We're glad they're working for our community. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

got chickens?

Roots & Wings hosted a presentation on Backyard Chickens
back in 2013--it may be time to do this again!
Do you know someone who keeps chickens? 

From Texas to Virginia to London there are reports that backyard chickens are trendy. Right here in our rivertowns, I know four, maybe five, yards with chickens. 

Why would you want to have chickens? Well, once you build your coop, and obtain water and food dispensers, you probably get a bit more value in eggs than you spend on feed. But it is also magical to get those beautiful fresh eggs . . . 

Where do people get the chicks from? One friend orders hers from MyPetChicken.com. The rest of the people I know get theirs from Springhurst Elementary School! Each year the first graders hatch chickens. As the school year comes to an end, most of the ittle chicks go to a friendly farm upstate. And some are quietly dispersed throughout the community. We’ve gotten chicks from the school for the last 5 or so years.

One of the biggest problems with picking little chicks at the elementary school is that you have to figure out what gender they are. Our rule of thumb was to NOT pick the loners since they would obviously be roosters. That rule of thumb has been proved wrong year after year. In fact, only just now did I actually research it and found this simple piece of advice. (MyPetChicken guarantees that they only send hens—but they've been known to be wrong, too.)  

If you keep chickens, let me know! Perhaps there's a need for a Chicken Help Line of sorts for newcomers to this hobby. 

Where to get the feed. What kind of coop. Can they be outside when no one is home. Can you feed them table scraps? Organic vs non organic feed and a new one for me this year—did I want medicated starter feed.  

Right now we have three chicks. Stay tuned—will they make it through the summer? (We’ve been hearing raccons at night—scary!) Will they all be female? More to come!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

new banner and new url!

If you've driven down Oak Street lately, in Dobbs Ferry, you might have noticed a sweet sign on The Kitchen Garden--Roots & Wings' community garden. It says… The Kitchen Garden! It was designed for us by Nancy Delmerico, our CSA Manager.

It also gives a new url to find us: RivertownsCommunityGardens.com. Let's face it--it's a little more memorable than http://rootsandwingswestchester.blogspot.com. It also points to our vision of growing community in our towns, the river towns.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Thanks to all that came to our Roots & Wings CSA Open House! 
We had a great turn-out, and we have over 40 CSA members. In case you haven't signed up yet, the deadline is extended to May 1. You can sign up here.  Questions? Contact Nancy, our CSA Manager, at rootswingscsa@gmail.com

CSA Open House at Days of Wonder's "Farm Room."

And, thanks to the Rivertowns Enterprise for covering the story!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Roots & Wings CSA Open House on March 21

a fresh initiative to bring you local produce 

Learn more at Roots & Wings CSA Open House
on Saturday, March 21, at the "Farm Room" at Days of Wonder in Dobbs Ferry

Days of Wonder
Join Roots & Wings CSA members and prospective members, and meet farmer Dan King on Saturday, March 21 at 10:00 – 11:30 AM at the "Farm Room" at Days of Wonder at 343 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry. This free event is cosponsored by EatLocalNY. For more information, contact the CSA Manager at rootswingscsa@gmail.com

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and consists of a community of people who pay in advance for a portion of a farm’s harvest. It’s a win/win: Members receive an assortment of seasonal produce throughout the farming season. Farmers receive payment early in the season, a time when they need to purchase seeds but typically would not have income.

We are launching Roots & Wings CSA in partnership with Rexcroft Farm, a seventh generation family farm in Athens, NY. Rexcroft Farm has been working with CSAs in the Westchester area for the past eight years, as well as various farmers markets.

CSA shares include 7-8 kinds of produce

Farmer Dan King grows a variety of produce, as well as raises cows, pigs, and chickens on the pasture, and keeps bees.

“I’m ordering my seeds now, and will start my seedlings in a few weeks based, in part, on how many people I’m farming for in the Roots & Wings CSA. We hope to be getting on field in late March,” says Dan.

Nancy Delmerico
CSA Manager

Nancy Delmerico, Roots & Wings CSA Manager, has long been an advocate for the community and for sustainable living, using both her artistic talents and her knowledge of her hometown, Dobbs Ferry.  Nancy says, Roots & Wings CSA is a way we can move towards a more healthy lifestyle as individuals while also contributing to a healthier planet.”

EatLocalNY is the cosponsor of Roots & Wings CSA Open House, providing sustainably grown coffee from Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown. In addition, all Roots & Wings CSA members will receive 15% off all EatLocalNY online purchases. 

Says Derek DiGuglielmo, the founder of this Dobbs Ferry-based nonprofit, “EatLocalNY shares Roots & Wings commitment to strengthening local food systems and supporting local economies.”

Roots & Wings CSA offers a 20 and 15-week vegetable share, half-shares, the option of adding on a fruit share, and individual purchase of eggs, meat, maple syrup and honey. The season runs from June through October. The distribution site is South Presbyterian Church’s parking lot, in Dobbs Ferry. Pick-up is between 7:30 – 9:30 Sunday mornings. 

For more information, visit rootsandwingswestchester.blogspot.com or contact Roots & Wings CSA Manager, Nancy Delmerico, at rootswingscsa@gmail.com.”

Rexcroft Farm will be donating a CSA share and excess produce to the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry. 

Farmer Dan King

Rexcroft Farm is a seventh generation family farm. Dan and Nate King run the operation with assistance from other family members and a few dedicated employees. They own just less than 400 acres, which is divided up into vegetable areas, greenhouse areas, barns, pastures and woodlots. Rexcroft Farm focuses on vegetable production with a strong secondary emphasis on our grass-fed, naturally raised animals. They also grow peaches, apricots, plums and raspberries.

The Kings grow with long-term ecological health in mind. They employ integrated pest management; a technique that suppresses unwanted insects without relying on pesticides, as well as use organically approved products such as insecticidal soap and other natural oils.  They do not use genetically modified seeds. They also run the farm with a wide open door policy, inviting people to visit the farm and learn how their food is grown. “When CSA members visit the farm, we take them on a tour and say, ‘This is your food growing here. Here's what we're picking this week.’ People love it,” Dan says.

Rexcroft Farm has been a member of C.E. Inc. Greenmarkets in the NYC area since 1998. They are members of Farm Bureau and are a Pride of NY Farm.