Friday, November 28, 2014

Interfaith Vigil for UN Climate Change Conference on Dec. 7


Sunday, December 7 at 7:30pm

World leaders will come together in Lima, Peru this December for the UN Climate Change – an agreement that we hope will then be finalized in Paris in 2015. These leaders need to know that we're holding their work in our thoughts, meditations and prayers.
Conference (COP 20/CMP 10). They’ll be working to establish the fundamentals of a strong, global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
As they start their work, join us in a vigil –
·       for strong action by world governments in response to the climate crisis, including meaningful progress in Lima
·       for governments to fulfill and even increase their pledges to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which will assist poor nations in dealing with the climate crisis
·       for justice for the world’s poor, who have done the least to contribute to the climate crisis, but are most vulnerable to its effects
As citizens of the so-called First World, we recognize our responsibility for having despoiled and destabilized the global climate.  We recognize our moral responsibility to do everything we can to reverse the worst effects of our society’s wastefulness, and to work to restore creation. We also recognize our special responsibility to our brothers and sisters the world over who are already dealing with the devastating impacts of climate destabilization.
We can make a difference. As humanity finally begins to grapple with this existential crisis, we must ensure that our actions are grounded in respect for the natural environment, a passion for justice for the vulnerable, and a deep love for one another. With our lights we can guide the way.

Sponsored by:  Baha’i Faith; Concerned Families of Westchester; Great Company (a GreenFaith Circle); InterFaith Connection; InterGenerate; ROAR (Religious Organizations Along the River); Roots & Wings, the sustainable initiative of South Church Dobbs Ferry; Sisters of Charity New York; Sisters of the Divine Compassion; Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion; and White Plains Presbyterian Church.

For more information search Westchester #LightForLima Vigil on Facebook.  For questions please contact Great Company at .

Sunday, November 16, 2014

CSA stories

I snuck out of the house before anyone was awake, and wheeled my bike silently out of the shed. Going to my first CSA pick-up felt like a little adventure. 

Twenty minutes later I arrived at the Main Street School, in Irvington. What does a CSA even look like, I wondered. 

Then, behind about two dozen cars I saw a very mini farmer’s market. I told the woman with a clipboard my name, and then followed others, shopping as the signs directed. “One bunch.” “3 fruits.” “2 bags.” I didn't even need to get out my wallet.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, which means that people prepurchase a portion of a farm’s harvest. Northeast OrganicFarming Organization says CSAs emerged in Japan and Europe in the 1960’s, driven by consumers who wanted quality food and to support sustainable agricultural practices. It arrived in the US in the mid 1980s. Local Harvest estimates that there are now 4000 CSAs in the US.
All of the produce I picked up was grown on Rexcroft Farm, in Greene County, near the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. It was picked within the last few days, and driven by the farm’s owner, Dan King, to two central meeting places, where volunteers distribute it to approximately 200 members from the Rivertowns as well as far away as White Plains and Yonkers.

 Later that morning I rolled back onto our patio, lifted the green grocers bag out of my back-of-bike basket, and carried it into the kitchen. My daughters, now awake and sensing breakfast, gathered round. I reached in to display our farm fresh food. But, what was this orange goo on my parslane? I opened the bag and saw small smashed heirloom tomatoes everywhere, like sticky popcorn on the floor of a movie multiplex. The peaches, however, nestled against the red-leaf amaranth, were intact. So were the half-dozen pullet eggs.

My mistake was packing my grocery bag the same way I always did, when it just had to travel from cart to car trunk to kitchen. It had been so fun biking home, bouncing on the Aqueduct’s root bumps past joggers and dog walkers, I didn’t give my cargo a second thought.

There are other differences between a CSA and shopping in a grocery store. Els van den Bosch, who has been a member the Rexcroft Farm CSA since it started, about seven years ago, sums up the biggest complaint. “For many people the drawback is that one can’t chose what one gets.” 

She continues, “Most of the time, though, I have enjoyed the challenge. It means that I go on the Internet in search of recipes and I have made dishes I would otherwise never have made. For example, I made my own (raw) sauerkraut, and stuffed poblano peppers are now a favorite snack. My kids have learned to appreciate the wider choice of vegetables, and to be agreeable to eat what is being served even if it is new or not exactly as appetizing as their favorite fare. Do I like everything? No. But I freeze what my family won’t eat and serve it when we have guests who will love the Brussels sprouts.”

“We would not have eaten kale if it hadn’t been for the CSA and when my daughter told us about the kale she bought and cooked in her dorm room I knew that I had given her a valuable example.”

The variety of produce in each CSA share turns out to be a benefit for many. Kathy Dean, who has been a 
Rexcroft Farm CSA member for five years, notes, “Besides having incredibly fresh vegetables, we have learned to love kohlrabi which we had never tried before. Many new recipes have become favorites, Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach, Cabbage and Mushrooms and Cauliflower Kale Pie to name a few."

My family had eased into the CSA with the lowest commitment level, the 15-week half share of vegetables and fruit for $347.50, because I wasn’t sure if it would be a good value. But the fact that the Old Croton Aqueduct connects my home in Dobbs Ferry to the pick up site, at the Main Street School, in Irvington, sealed the deal. Even if I was paying farmers market prices for the produce, I reasoned, I could bike there. I’d get some exercise and good food and add absolutely nothing to my carbon footprint.

last CSA pick-up of the season
Now, I’d say it was the best $23.16 I spent each week.

Dale Williams, who, with Betsy Anderson, was the other part of our first-time half-share, lists his top three CSA highlights: the fresh food, the local connection, and the camaraderie at the pickup

He adds, “I love that mixed in with the lovely local versions of the produce I buy regularly there's often one item that I don't know or wouldn't have thought to purchase. Who knew I'd love red leaf amaranth (and that it's so pretty), red shiso, or lemon cukes? Every week I look forward to finding out what bounty we'll receive.”

To find out more about Rexcroft Farm CSA visit or email

the cover crop emerges

Back in mid October, children gathered in the Kitchen Garden
during church school to gather the last harvest for the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry. At midday, an infusion of adults came, pulled up the last of the plants and made a big compost pile, and planted a cover crop.

Here's a peek at the day, and at the cover crop that has emerged.

wouldn't want to meet this crew in a dark garden…

The cover crop for the winter. This planting will winter kill giving a nice underground biomass, decaying organic nitrogen fix in the spring and a perfect ground cover to plant into in the spring. Read more here. 

the butterfly that emerged at Naomi and Anya's house from a chrysalis found by MJ in the Kitchen Garden

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

enriching the earth

We gather to enrich the earth of the Kitchen Garden on Sunday, October 19, at 11:30. Join us!

Enriching the Earth

by Wendell Berry

To enrich the earth I have sowed clover and grass
to grow and die. I have plowed in the seeds 

of winter grains and of various legumes,
their growth to be plowed in to enrich the earth.
I have stirred into the ground the offal 

and the decay of the growth of past seasons
and so mended the earth and made its yield increase.
All this serves the dark. I am slowly falling 

into the fund of things. And yet to serve the earth,
not knowing what I serve, gives a wideness
and a delight to the air, and my days 

do not wholly pass. It is the mind's service,
for when the will fails so do the hands
and one lives at the expense of life.
After death, willing or not, the body serves,
entering the earth. And so what was heaviest
and most mute is at last raised up into song.

"Enriching the Earth" by Wendell Berry, from Collected Poems. © North Point Press, 1985. Reprinted with the permission of the author. 

 Critics and scholars have acknowledged Wendell Berry as a master of many literary genres, but whether he is writing poetry, fiction, or essays, his message is essentially the same: humans must learn to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth or perish. MORE