Since the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City, trusted environmental nonprofit GrowNYC has worked hard to keep their over 80 food access sites open and safe for the public, and has been building out distance learning resources to continue to support educators and the general public as learning spaces move remote.
GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets, Farmstands, Fresh Food Boxes, and delivery to emergency food providers are crucial to the hundreds of thousands of NYC residents who rely on them as sources of fresh, healthy food.
This week they launched a free Fresh Food Box program for low income New Yorkers who are undocumented, unemployed, or struggling in high need neighborhoods.
They are committed to helping the most vulnerable New Yorkers, but cannot do it without your help. Visit grownyc.org/donate to support their work.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We’re delighted to share a book written by Julie Cerny’s, former Education Director and Manager of The Sylvia Center’s Learning garden. Although we strive to honor our planet every day, Earth Day is a great time to refocus and realign and perhaps even pick up new habits that will yield results and honor Mother Earth all year!
Staying home may make it a little more challenging to celebrate Earth Day this year. Remember though, that one of the best ways to engage with nature is to eat it! Food GROWS. Food is nature and we can be a part of growing it (even if all we have is a sunny windowsill). I wrote The Little Gardener: Helping Children Connect with the Natural World as an engaging illustrated guide for parents, educators, and others who want to help children explore the natural world through gardening. When we grow food, it’s easier to see ourselves as a part of natural systems and to experience first-hand how our choices affect the Earth, for better or for worse.
And remember, too, that a garden can live in a bucket, in a backyard, or in that small strip of earth between the road and the sidewalk. Grow wherever you can. It will be worthwhile.
Q&A With Julie Cerny
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Jon Ronsani, our farmer at Katchkie Farm, has provided his tips for celebrating Earth Day with an activity that will yield results and honor Mother Earth all year!
Starting Your Own CITY Garden
A great way for city folks to celebrate Earth Day is to get a garden going, either in raised beds or in containers. We must not forget how strong an ever-present nature is. A few seeds, some soil and water and something is growing!
EASY PLANTS FOR STARTER GARDENS
The most container friendly plants are herbs. Basil, cilantro, and dill are very easy to start from seed and will get growing in no time. If you have access to raised beds, radish, spinach, beets, and lettuce can be directly sown in the garden this week.
GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED IN GARDENING
Get the kids to help! In the days of an agrarian based economy, kids were viewed as an economic asset to the family. Make it so again, if only for an hour. Gardening is such a wonderful experience for them. Digging in the dirt, planting seeds, watering, and tending plants is a very wonder filled experience for them. Then when they get to harvest, eat and share what they have worked on, it is a lesson they will never forget.
As for resources. Fruition Seeds is wonderful resource for gardening know how as well as seeds. During my days in Copake, I was able to meet master gardener Margaret Roach, who also hosts a gardening pod cast “A Way to Garden.” She is wealth of gardening knowledge. Don’t be shy, mistakes will be made and fun will be had!
The Columbia Land Conservancy
Katchkie Farm is in Columbia County in a community that is passionate about protecting the land. We are proud to support the work of the Columbia Land Conservancy.
Check out the video below for a special message from the Columbia Land Conservancy and visit their website for some great digital resources they have created to celebrate Earth Week. Don’t forget to show your support.
Each year in April, we put our mind to what we can share with you for Earth Day. Not because it’s the only day we should think about it, but because it’s an annual reminder to realign and refocus our efforts. As with all things that become habitual, an annual marker to really stop and reflect can be incredibly helpful.
So this year, as we mark our annual celebration of Earth Day, take a moment to reflect on what you’re already doing and perhaps find a new, tangible and actionable way to to improve your relationship with Mother Nature and honor and respect the planet.
Check out what our amazing and creative team members at Great Performances are doing!
Mike Deuel, Executive Chef of Catering Operations & Anastassia Batsoula-Deuel, Party Chef
We’ve been busy processing some of the leftovers from the GP kitchen that didn’t have an outlet elsewhere for various reasons. Anastassia and Natalia, Anastassia’s mother and fellow party chef with Great Performances, have been busy turning the leftovers into creative meals. When we come up with something delicious, we’ve been sharing with our neighbors.
This weekend we organized seeds, planted garlic and beans, watered our tomato plants. We are planting everything! Different sorts and varieties of herbs; flowers for bees, insects and birds; and so many different vegetables: beans, beets, peas, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, hot & sweet peppers, variety of leafy greens, celery, onions, garlic, artichokes, horseradish, rhubarb, ginger, turmeric and scallions to name a few.
We’re eagerly hoping our fruit trees and shrubs will produce this year. We have five varieties of plums, three varieties of apples, two varieties of peaches, and two different cherry trees, as well as a fig bush that is starting to show mini figs.
Anastassia and Natalia have also been busy making sourdough EVERYTHING, including delicious sourdough English muffins, and sharing with the neighbors as well. The only thing Mike will not let them share is the wine I’ve made; I need that to enjoy while reflecting on the day’s work.
Kaitlin Walsh, Director of Design
While I’ve been staying at home, I’ve had some extra time for projects. Here are some of the things I have been doing.
1. Vegetable scraps. I’m saving all scraps from my veggies and use them to make stock. I’ve already made two homemade stocks which I then make into soup or freeze in ice cube trays.
2. Herbs that may spoil. I’ll either put them in ice cube trays and top with olive oil or cook at a low heat in the oven and make into dried herbs (if you don’t have a dehydrator).
3. Saving the ends of green onions, chives, leeks. I’ll keep the root ends in water until they roots, then replant them. It’s a practice I learned from my mom and one that’s “trending” right now. I have them in a bunch of shot glasses in the kitchen window.
4. Craft packages. I’ve been finding odds and ends around the house and putting them in little kits which I then send to my nephew. It can be as easy as pipe cleaners, pop sickle sticks, clothes pins, pom poms, cotton balls, and labels.
5. Pressing flowers. It’s a craft I’ve been practicing for years as I’m fortunate to have access to flowers. These can then be used on various crafts including cards, jewelry, etc.
I’ve been very conscious about saving scraps and “thoughtfully” cooking to get the most out of every vegetable and cut of meat. It’s interesting because it’s the way my grandparents were raised through the Great Depression. Everything was recycled or repurposed. If food scraps weren’t used for a stock, they were used to feed the worms, that were used to catch fish. It was endless.
Justin Schwartz, Executive Chef, Production
Because we are stuck at home we have spent a lot of time rethinking our space. We live in carrol gardens, and our apartment building had a front garden that was just sitting there waiting to be claimed. I called my landlord and asked to take over the front garden and they were thrilled to give over its care to us.
I dug up all the plants (which we of course composted) with my son (who had a cute little red shovel) and turned it into a lesson about ecosystems, plant roots, soil you name it! Hes really enjoyed being a part of the process and seeing the grass seed we planted together germinate and grow has really put a silver lining on social distancing.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Since we can’t gather outdoors to celebrate Mother Earth, let’s turn to our indoor gardens.
👉Log into Instagram and show us your selfies with your indoor plants and we’ll select a winner who will receive seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library and a day at Wave Hill with lunch or afternoon tea for two at the Café at Wave Hill once it reopens (valued at $150).
1. Take a selfie with your indoor garden / house plants
2. Post it to your Instagram account and tag @gpfood @wavehill and use the hashtag #earthdaycontest by noon EST on 4/21/2020
3. Tag a friend
4. Follow @GPFood and @wavehill
5. Check back on 4/22/2020 to see who’s won! Good luck! 🍀