Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Community Composting

The children each put a handful of wilted spinach leaves into the center compost bin. Gabriela Munoz, part of Roots & Wings compost team, showed them how to take dried leaves from the right bin and cover their food scraps. She also pointed out what was in the left bin: decomposed material that looked a lot like good soil. 

"That's what will happen to your banana peels, clementine peels and uneaten bagel," she told the little group from Days of Wonder, a childcare program located on South's campus. Teachers Luke and Jordi learned, too, and were tasked with sharing the news to the other classes.

The lesson was a step towards Roots & Wings' goal of having all groups that use South Church's campus compost their food scraps, rather than add them to the waste stream. The vision grew out of the recent Composting Conversations--a how-to evening that grew into a think tank of ways to move the dial on local composting. 

"This are your compost bins," Lenore, a Roots & Wings steering committee member, told the students. "They are for you and your families to use, as well as your school."

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

KROKA helps in the Manse Garden

Thirteen teens from Kroka Expeditions stayed at the Manse for a long weekend and, while there, volunteered in the Manse Garden.

In their words: 

"We spent much of Saturday with Greg Rosen, working in the garden behind the house to make the fence groundhog-proof and removing some of the invasive barberry. It was wonderful to talk to Greg about his time in Japan and the sustainable agriculture work he is doing here in Dobbs Ferry. We continued to put in work on improving the land for the rest of our stay, removing barberry and cleaning the yard."

Introducing ... the Manse Garden!

There's new garden in town -- for now, its name is the Manse Garden, put in by Roots & Wings newest steering committee member, Greg Rosen. 

The vision: to support community food resilience through group work sessions, workshops and food pantry donations come harvest time. 

 Greg writes, "I'd like to start by growing annual vegetables for a year. This would give us an opportunity to get to know the land, before considering planting perennials, making bigger changes and even designing a community food forest." 

 "Through hands-on education, we can support home growers in making edible gardens of plenty throughout our community. We can highlight the connection between edible "weeds" and nearby woods, incorporating "invasive" plant management and encouragement of native plants, pollinators and biodiversity. For youth engagement, I'd like to emphasize L.O.P.I. (learning by observing and pitching in). I imagine a future where the streets are greener and neighbors are sharing an abundance of fresh local food." 

 Here are photos of Greg and his mother sowing radish, carrot, sunflower, Jerusalem artichoke, amaranth, borage and marigold.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Roots & Wings provides seed money for new garden in Mount Vernon

Partnerships power community garden at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon

Roots & Wings, the sustainable initiative of South Presbyterian Church, in Dobbs Ferry, has provided $2,500 in seed monies for a new garden at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon. The collaboration was celebrated at a Garden Work Day and BBQ at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon on April 9.

“We are thrilled to be part of this new garden,” said Lenore Person, member of Roots & Wings Steering Committee. 

The collaboration practically put itself together, she said. Dorothy Muller, a Presbyterian minister living in Sleepy Hollow, serves on the ministry team of both churches and helped make introductions. 

Roots & Wings received funding from the Hudson River Presbytery in 2011 for implementing programs that help people to care for the earth and to know its rhythms, creating community and rejuvenating themselves in the process. Written into the grant was funding for other organizations to “grow community.” 

The garden at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon is a partnership between the church’s Mission Committee and Resilient Survivors, a new non-profit in Mount Vernon for survivors of domestic violence, incarceration, addiction— “any trauma that has lasting significant impact on life,” said Claire Hurst, the co-president.  

D.I.G. Farm, in North Salem, and its sister organization Westchester Local Food Network will contribute gardening know-how. Allison Turcan, the founder of both organizations, has put together a lean budget using farming connections for fencing, compost, building a compost bin, seeds and seedlings. The City of Mount Vernon contributed wood chips. 

Resilient Survivors plans to run healing circles in the new garden. First Presbyterian Church envisions gardening classes and cooking programs using their home-grown produce.  “The excitement continues to build,” said Marcia Morgan, member of First Presbyterian Church’s mission committee. “We are thankful for everyone’s hard work and input!”