Sunday, November 11, 2012

Go (Compost) Team!

Breaking news... South Church is composting!

It's been happening in fits and starts for the past year, and now, thanks to the tireless work of Chris Cole-Olsewski, a team is in place to bring our compost from the South Church kitchen compost bins to the new and improved outdoor compost bins near The Kitchen Garden.

Introducing the Team and the days they will be bringing the indoor compost bucket to the outdoor bins:

  • Chris Cole Olsewski -  Sundays
  • Solange Viggiano - Tuesdays
  • Maureen Buckley Fox - Fridays
  • Jessica Groth - who will turn the outdoor compost as needed

What YOU need to do:  if you are working in kitchen, put your coffee grounds, filters, tea bags, used paper napkins, crumbs you sweep off the counters, stale broken cookies, fruit peels, pizza crusts and more into the green compost bucket. 

A good compost heap is the key to growing good food.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Season of Rivertowns Green Film Series begins this Thursday!

You are invited to attend a free screening of Symphony of the Soil

A beautiful and moving film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil--and its connection to climate change, our health... and our future

Thursday, October 18 at 7 PM, FREE
515 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry

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If you missed Symphony of the Soil's screening at Stone Barns earlier this year, see it with the Rivertowns Interfaith GREEN Film Series this Thursday evening, October 18th, at 7 PM!

Symphony of the Soil premiered at the March 2012 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It is the most recent film from filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia, best known for her internationally acclaimed 2004 film,The Future of Food. 

A special work-in-progress version of Symphony of the Soil was shown at U.C. Berkeley as The Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture in the spring of 2010. The film includes several of the university’s distinguished soil scientists. This special version was also shown at Yale University and California State University at Fresno, as part of the school’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. More food is grown in Fresno County than any place in the world.

Symphony of the Soilis a 104-minute documentary feature film that connects soil health to human health. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices ofsome of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. 

SOIL: "A cloak of loose, soft material, held to the earth’s hard surface by gravity, is all that lies between life and lifelessness." 

Director of photography John Chater’s breathtaking photography — along 
with Academy Award-winning composer Todd Boekelheide’s mystical compositions — takes the audience on a magical trip around the world and down into the mysterious ecosystem under our feet, truly blending science and art into a spectacular symphony.

Questions - Kathy Dean at 914-693-7389 or

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Sponsored by the Rivertowns Interfaith Green Film Series ofSouth Presbyterian Church’s Roots & WingsFirst Unitarian Society of Westchester and Greenburgh Hebrew Center. Each film is followed by a discussion the following month. For our 2012 -2013 season, click here. 

SYMPHONY OF THE SOIL reviews, news, more

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The circular ways of the Labyrinth

Year two of the labyrinth and we’re still finding our way.

     Thanks to Linda Herring and Linda Azif who have talked to the gardeners at Sprainbrook about the best way to nourish the plants along the Roots & Wings labyrinth's paths. They are putting “Coast of Maine” mix of potting soil, compost and other things that help lighten the soil into the current, somewhat packed soil to aerate it and to allow the plant roots to grow deep not horizontal. 

     We hope the Sat. Oct. 6th at 9:30 am-ish will be the date people will come with donations for planting in the perennial labyrinth garden.  Watch here for the final date.

     There’s now an official WELCOME as you enter the labyrinth. This stone is resonant with South Church history. It has sat, partially buried, by the side “bridal entrance” of the church for decades perhaps. Because of its sturdy but formal shape, and because it is about a foot deep, we know it was  South Church’s original “upping block” used for mounting horses or “carriage stone” used for stepping into horse drawn carriages. Local artist Cheryl Hajjar carved the Welcome, and local contractor Dave Person buried it in its current resting place.

Is it too much to say that now, when you walk into the labyrinth, you are following in the footsteps of generations who've come to connect with the divine? This welcome stone has good energy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dear Friends of our Planet,

On September 9th at 1:30, Roots & Wings is participating in an Interfaith Blessing of the Trees in Dobbs Ferry. A developer has purchased 5 acres of land and is planning to cut down 352 trees. Some of these trees are hundreds of years old and the woods they create include the habitats of many species, all of whom will be displaced once destruction/construction begins. See the slideshow on the right for more information. 

This Blessing has been fashioned after a Buddhist Ordination of the Trees in recognition of their right to life. 

Please join us to bless these trees and this land and help us bear witness to the sanctity of life. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Roots & Wings rocks!"

Nothing like little boys picking and eating cucumbers and swiss chard right from the garden (thanks to Marg's guidance of the kids - and the remedial adult gardener ;-). We were "toasting" the cucumbers like they were glasses of champagne. I could have done without the discovery "a million ants" under the rocks (thanks to the same little boys), but hey... 

PLUS, we supplied the food pantry with some fresh cucumbers and zucchini. 


On behalf of ALL of us at Cabrini (families and awkward staff), THANKS for this amazing opportunity.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 23 in the Kitchen Garden

by Mark Pennington

“Look at that! It’s huge!  I can't believe it!”

The Kitchen Garden was swirling with energy and excitement and color this Saturday.  Just a short while ago, it seems, this riverview plot on the brink of the hill behind the church was a tangled mass of partially removed sod, yielding reluctantly to spades and rakes.  Over the course of a few weeks, a hearty group of gardeners from Roots and Wings and Cabrini Immigrant Services cleared grass, turned soil, and planted – a garden!  Small clusters of us have come out on Saturday mornings to pull out rampant weeds from the season’s abundant rains.  People come when they can, for as long as they can.  In moments, it has felt daunting. Then, tender new shoots emerged, barely bigger than the weeds.

Suddenly, the pace has picked up dramatically. Kathy Dean and Robin Larkins dialed up the energy.   E-mails went out to coordinate pairings of Roots and Wings and Cabrini families. Nature did its work. And a crowd appeared.  Parents and kids.  Gardeners from Brazil, Peru. Mexico, Korea, Pakistan, Hastings and Dobbs. Onlookers in colorful saris pointing and exclaiming. Animated conversations in several languages.

“Look! There’s another one!  Look how it’s all twisted!”

“Take them!  They’re ready!” Robin urged.  “That’s what we’re here for!”

Soon, a basket was brimming with cucumbers and zucchini.  People were talking about the meals they would prepare with them.  Looking forward to a bigger communal feast as the season progresses.  Inquiring about news from Korea.   Holding the weeds in check. Readying a new spot for carrots and cilantro. Thinking about how much better we can do next season, with a little more lead time. Better use of space. More clearly defined beds and rows.

The tomato plants are looking majestic.  The peppers are surging.  The swiss chard is resplendent. The potatoes are hiding.  The delicate asparagus is giving thanks for the stakes that protect its slow growth from the trampling feet of well meaning gardeners.

“Don’t pull up the whole thing!  Twist it, that’s right!”

“Not all of them!  We have to leave some to grow!”

“This is wonderful!”

Later, one of the kids proudly displayed his trophy zucchini to Susan de George at the Attic Sale refreshment stand, probably unaware that she was one of the masterminds of the garden.  And people are believing it, looking forward to more time together in the garden.