The “Dig Kids,” an urban farming program will launch in May for a five-month run. Three to five kids ages 14-19 will learn farming, garden cultivation, nutrition, beautification, entrepreneurship and mentorship, and work Midtown’s Everette Hodge Community Center’s burgeoning garden beds 10 hours a month after school. (A grant will pay the participants a stipend.) The Kingston Land Trust will partner with Family of Woodstock’s Kingston Cares program to select the kids for the program. Additionally, there will be unpaid under-13 junior gardeners who will be mentored by the older kids.
More than growing and tending the crops, the “Dig Kids” will also have their hands in the kitchen to learn culinary skills. Monthly programming and education, open and free to all kids, will instruct on topics from preparing seeds, planting, cooking, beekeeping and more. The young farmers and junior gardeners will visit farms and even sell their produce to the community with farmer Jesica Clark, who’s in charge of the new South Pine Street City Farm.
KLT Executive Director Rebecca Martin said she envisions communities where kids can walk from their homes to their community gardens, rather than requiring transportation. “It’s not just for these 10 kids,” said Martin. “It’s for the entire neighborhood.”
Kingston Cares Director Megan Weiss, whose office is located in the Everette Hodge center on Franklin Street, said that she has been handing out applications for this program left and right — even the little ones are immediately interested in participating. The Hodge center has been growing its own garden every year, and last year was even gifted a fence by the Woodcrest Community.
“We were working on the garden and when we met [Martin] she started helping us out,” said Weiss. “She brought energy and hope to our project.” Weiss said that the junior gardeners are drawing pictures of what they want their community gardens to look like, including zany, colorful flowers, watermelons and more. More than farming, the kids will also learn how to mentor, do public speaking and employ good work ethics such as being on time. More than 20 applications have already been handed out.
Yoga al fresco
The Kingston WellSpring Festival will take place on Sunday, May 1 in Rondout’s Cornell Park between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. to launch a free, new monthly yoga-in-the-park series. It will include more than 20 alternate healing arts-style practitioners and resources, and hourly yoga classes for both kids and adults. Acupuncture, Feldenkrais, Kinesiology, Naturopathy and other specialties will be represented, along with Organic Nectars serving gelatos and drink samples. The day will also include a boisterous drum circle open to the public with amateur and professional drummers rhythmically pounding to sound off for good health.
Shakti Yoga Studios, MAC Fitness and the City of Kingston’s Park and Recreation department will be hosting the event with KLT. The series will feature a free adult and youth yoga class for those ages 5-8 years old simultaneously on the first Sunday of each month at Cornell Park beginning at 10 a.m. and led by instructors from Shakti Yoga. All yoga participants should dress comfortably in exercise attire and bring mats, blocks and belts.
“I love yoga,” said Martin. “It’s changed my life, really. Any kind of a body work like that can be life-changing. I love that we are going to be doing it in the park, and that it’s free.”
Stretching into a downward dog while looking at the Hudson River is a dream come true, said Martin. “It’s my dream to have a free yoga class in every park in the city; for residents to walk down the street, and have a free yoga class in their park. I hope citizens will take advantage of it.”
Also on the list is some spring cleaning, in conjunction with the Friends of Historic Kingston, said KLT Chairman Greg Swanzey. “We are doing a Clean Sweep — a clean-up from East Chester Street to the tunnel April 30, starting from East Chester Street and Jansen Avenue.” The KLT recently acquired grants to expand the rail trail system through Midtown, and are now rolling up their sleeves to get that long-term project under way. “People should have boots, and gloves. People can sign up by going to Friends of Historic Kingston’s website [fohk.org] — click on ‘Clean Sweep.’” Swanzey asked that people e-mail ahead of time in the event that KLT or FHK needs supplies or tools. The next Clean Sweep is eyed for June.
The re-dedication and historical designation of the African-American Mount Zion burial grounds will be held June 5 with County Executive Mike Hein, professors from SUNY New Paltz, African drummers, a choir and more.
For more information, contact the Kingston Land Trust at (845) 877-5263 or visit their website at kingstonlandtrust.org.