Posts Tagged ‘community gardening’

Little Jocelyn Farms for Food & Freedom

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

jocelynBy Alice Kenny

As a light breeze brushes freshly tilled soil, Jocelyn, 5, picks up a hammer to help her dad build a family garden.

It’s a magical moment for her family, a time when Jocelyn, her mom, dad, and big brother Steven, 7, think about working the soil and enjoying the sun, about picking tomatoes, peppers and beans.  Best of all, it’s a time when they don’t think about growling bellies or the daily search for work.

Jocelyn’s father belongs to Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area served by Catholic Charities.  Here they learn about employment rights to prevent their exploitation and abuse, receive assistance collecting unpaid wages, get help accessing healthcare services, participate in English and computer skills classes and receive emergency food to supplement their gardens’ bounty.

Most importantly, Catholic Charities helps Jocelyn and families like hers become independent.  The community garden on Oak Street in Yonkers where Jocelyn helps her family is one of two community gardens maintained by and for day laborers.

The land, donated by the Greyston Foundation, an integrated network of programs that help families move toward self-sufficiency, had been littered with plastic bags and rotting garbage.  The laborers tossed out the garbage, built a fence to keep out future litter and are hammering together 22 boxes so that Obreros Unidos de Yonkers  families can  reap the harvest from  their own plots of land.

This community garden is one of two maintained by Obreros Unidos. The second, tilled right in front of the Catholic Charities offices on Hawthorne Avenue in Yonkers represents a joint effort between Catholic Charities Community Services, the Greyston Foundation, YMCA of Yonkers and Habitat for Humanity of Westchester.

“The gardens enable families, many who worked as farmers in the South and Central American nations where they were born, to share this tradition with their children while teaching them the importance of hard work and community,” says Catholic Charities Day Laborer Organizer Janet Hernández.

Produce the Produce

Friday, May 9th, 2014

 

Join us this Saturday, May 10, 2014, at noon for our “Produce the Produce” annual kickoff and 5th annual Blessing of the Soil!

Produce the Produce is our proactive effort at Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR), an affiliate of Catholic Charities, to get more freshly grown fruits and vegetables on the tables of people in need.

In 2013, we harvested 6,000 pounds of fresh produce and received more than 7,000 pounds of produce from local farmers and individual growers that we distributed to participants enrolled in our Food Pantry. Special thanks to Stokes Farm, the nearly 150-year-old farm located in Old Tappen, N.J. that donated thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Rockland County Executive Director Ed Day will lead us tomorrow in celebrating the planting of vegetables in our “Garden of Love” that now includes just-completed raised growing beds built by a local Eagle Scout and his Boy Scout Troop 97.  The raised beds will accommodate more produce and make it easier for more people of all abilities to help.

To ensure we have a plentiful bounty, Catholic Charities Executive Director will lead our special annual Blessing of the Soil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 25 percent of adults, and even fewer children, eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. For those most in-need in Rockland County that number is estimated at less than 10 percent.

“Produce the Produce” serves as  catalyst to engage other community and parish gardens, local farmers markets and  citizen to grow and donate fresh food for those in need.

Join us tomorrow at Produce the Produce.

Meet us at Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR) “Garden of Love,” 78 Hudson Avenue, Haverstraw, NY 10927

For more information call 845-942-5791.

Produce the Produce – Earth Day and Every Day

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Tapping in on Earth Day, Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR) announces its new program, “Produce the Produce,” to  provide fresh fruits and vegetables to hungry children, individuals and families in Rockland County.

“Whether from our own garden, grocery store or farmers’ market, most of us have access we take for granted to fresh fruits and vegetables but those who are poor have neither,” says CCSR Executive Director Martha Robles.

“We are committed to changing that in Rockland with a bold, new and fresh initiative,” she adds, “and invite you to be a part of it.”

This proactive effort will put more freshly grown fruits and vegetables on the tables of people in need. CCSR plans to serve as a catalyst to engage other community and parish gardens to participate in “Produce the Produce.” It will also provide a central location where local farmers markets and common citizens can donate the fresh fruits and vegetables they grow.

The idea was “cultivated” from CCSR’s expanded community produce garden in Haverstraw.  This garden, nicknamed the “Garden of Love,” has already produced more than 6,000 lbs. of fresh produce that has been distributed to participants enrolled in the CCSR Food Pantry.  In addition to saving money, the Garden of Love helps feed our neighbors, while teaching members of the community how to grow their own food.

To ensure a plentiful bounty, Produce the Produce was formally announced during the 4th Annual Blessing of the Soil at CCSR, 78 Hudson Ave in Haverstraw, New York on April 20.

During this time of economic uncertainty, demand for the food pantries continues to grow.  Fortunately, the CCSR garden’s bounty is growing as well. Seasonal cooking demonstrations that use fresh ingredients from the bounty harvested from the “Garden of Love” are also available.

At Catholic Community Services of Rockland, no one is ever turned away from receiving food. Please call 845 942-5791 during office hours to register.