Urban Agriculture in Kingston, NY

October 1, 2013
by farmkingstonny
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Citizens Interested in Urban Agriculture in Kingston Invited To A Public Visioning Session at the Kingston Public Library October 22nd.

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Citizens interested in Urban Agriculture in Kingston are invited to participate in a visioning session to develop a future committee structure at the Kingston Public Library.  The event will take place on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. 

Kingston, NY. – A public visioning session to expand the existing Urban Agriculture Committee will take place on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Kingston Public Library located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston, NY.  The group, led by Corrine Wolcott, will discuss Kingston’s current and future ‘farming’ needs as well as to discuss a  ‘democratic leadership’ structure for the committee.
“Three years in a non-­‐hierarchical organization gave me plenty of experience using a democratic meeting structure,” says Wolcott.  ” I valued the opportunity for consent and inclusivity that the structure creates. With practice, patience, and support, I found this style of meeting to be the most productive in creating informed action and making safe space for personal growth and respectful relationships.”

The goal of the evening will be for all of those interested in Urban Agriculture to help to develop a strong foundation for continued success of the current Urban Agriculture Committee.
Since formed in January of 2013, the group has accomplished all of its goals that include:
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** Raising funds and creating new partnerships for ‘The Dig Kids – an Urban Farming Program‘.
** Help to situate a new farmer at the South Pine Street City Farm in 2013.
** Launch the “Kingston Urban Agriculture Zoning Project“, an effort to update Kingston’s Farm Zoning and Code, creating new partnerships with the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development at Pace Law School, Larrecca Music Management and Family of Woodstock. The group hired consultant Jennifer Schwartz-Berky of Hone Strategic, LLC.
** Raised funds and helped to successfully launch the YMCA Farm Project that broke ground in September.
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For more information about the event, contact Rebecca Martin at larrecca@gmail.com
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About the Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee – The Urban Agriculture Committee (UAC) is charged to promote community-based, small-scale, entrepreneurial farming by providing education and technical assistance to people interested in urban farming through research and policy development aimed at making urban farming an integral part of a lively and viable cityscape, and through working with our community to embrace and support urban farms.

September 19, 2013
by farmkingstonny
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The Kingston YMCA Farm Project breaks ground on September 28th and 29th, 2013.

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The Kingston YMCA Farm Project breaks ground on September 28th and 29th, 2013. Organizers invite the public to help break ground on a new farm in Midtown Kingston.

Kingston, NY – The Kingston YMCA Farm Project invites the public to break ground on a new farm in Midtown Kingston on Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, September 29th 2013 from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Led by Farmer Kaycee Wimbish and as part of Kingston’s growing Urban Agriculture efforts, the Kingston YMCA Farm mission is  ‘to educate and empower young people by directly engaging them in sustainable food production on an urban farm. These young people will learn and practice the skills needed to produce their own food and to make healthy choices throughout their lifetime, while increasing the community’s access to fresh produce.’

Volunteers are asked to bring shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, gloves and bug spray. Long sleeve shirts, hats and sunblock are also recommended. There will be family friendly music, food, crafts, dirt and fun for all.

For more information, contact Farmer Wimbish at kaycee.wimbish@gmail.com or visit www.kingstonymcafarmproject.org

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About the Kingston YMCA Farm Project    The vision of the Kingston YMCA Farm Project will be utilized as a way to engage young people in the magical and empowering process that is food production.  The over 200 young people who participate in the YMCA’s on-site after-school and summer camp programs will become farmers.  Children will be involved in all aspects of food production and farm care: seeding, transplanting, watering, weeding, harvesting, and ultimately preparing and eating.  In partnership with the Queens Galley, the young farmers will be taught how to prepare the vegetables into creative, delicious dishes.

We want to be a part of a new generation of young people who know exactly where their food comes from, how it grows, and the energy and effort it takes to get food onto a plate.   We also want all children to have access to fresh, healthy food grown without the use of chemicals.

Equally as important is to be a part of a larger movement that is working to increase access to fresh, local produce for all of the residents of Kingston, regardless of income or neighborhood.  The ability to choose nutritious food grown without the use of chemicals should be a right and not a privilege.   The Kingston YMCA Farm Project hopes to provide affordable, reliable produce to people in Midtown Kingston.   As we  face changing economic times, we want to  increase Kingston’s food security, ensuring that despite global and national changes we will continue to have access to fresh food.

The Kingston YMCA Farm Project is made possible by generous support including a donation from Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein. 

September 16, 2013
by farmkingstonny
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The Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee Launches Program that Updates Urban Agriculture Zoning and Code in Kingston NY.

The Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee launches program aimed at updating farm code and zoning in Kingston, NY.   Partnerships include the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development at Pace Law School, Family of Woodstock, Inc. and Larrecca Music Management.

Kingston, NY –  Cities across the United States and abroad are increasingly implementing urban agriculture as a strategy to improve local food security and public health, engage and educate underserved populations, and provide opportunities for job training and economic development. According to the USDA, “around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas.” Between 1994 and 2011 the number of farmers’ markets in the U.S. grew by over 300 percent.

Citizens and organizations in the City of Kingston, NY have been engaged in urban agricultural activities for a number of years.  The City has supported these efforts with the adoption of Common Council Resolution #138 of 2011 recommending the support for Community Gardens and recognizing the opportunity for citizens to grow their own healthy food while showing intent to support the local food economy.  It is critical that the City continue to promote urban agricultural activities.

As the City of Kingston’s comprehensive plan (known as “Kingston 2025”) is being updated currently, an effort to integrate urban agriculture initiatives with revised zoning code provisions has gotten underway in September of 2013.  Led by Kingston’s Urban Agriculture Committee in partnership with the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development at Pace Law School (working with Managing Director and Adjunct Professor Jeff LeJava),  Larrecca Music Management (principal Rebecca Martin who is the former Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust) and Family of Woodstock, Inc., the group has hired Hone Strategic, LLC (an urban planning firm led by Jennifer Schwartz Berky, former Deputy Director of Planning for Ulster County) to provide research and updated language so that the City of Kingston supports local food production and allows urban agriculture to flourish. With this initiative, Kingston will lead the Hudson Valley as an innovator in this increasingly popular local food movement.

The primary objectives of this work will be to:

.    Update and catalog factual information about the City’s current urban agriculture activities and related food system.

.    Conduct a survey of properties utilizing real property data and GIS mapping to identify and classify potential types of urban agricultural sites and uses in conjunction with zoning and property classifications;

.    Identify best practices for learning and reference;

.    Propose language to be incorporated into the comprehensive plan that establishes goals, objectives, metrics and strategies for the City to increase local food production;

.    Provide general recommendations for zoning updates; and

.    Based upon the results of the Kingston Urban Ag Initiative, prepare a model local food production comprehensive plan component that can be tailored by other New York municipalities for use in their communities.

After working to incorporate local food production into the comprehensive plan update, the core team will begin the process of identifying changes to be made to the City’s zoning code that will encourage urban agricultural activities on both municipally-owned and private property. This work will be based upon the local food production goals, objectives, metrics and strategies established in the Kingston’s “2025” comprehensive plan.

Additionally, the effort will be presented at the Land Use Law Center’s 12th Annual Land Use and Sustainable Law Conference to take place on December 6th, 2013 in White Plains, NY., highlighting Kingston, NY’s urban agriculture movement.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin of the Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee at Rebecca@larreccamusic.com

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About the Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee  The Urban Agriculture Committee (UAC) is charged to promote community-based, small-scale, entrepreneurial farming by providing education and technical assistance to people interested in urban farming through research and policy development aimed at making urban farming an integral part of a lively and viable cityscape and to encourage our community to embrace and support urban farms.

About the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development at Pace Law School   Established in 1993, the Land Use Law Center is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities and regions through the promotion of innovative land use strategies and dispute resolution techniques. Through the work of its programs, centers, and institutes, the Land Use Law Center offers conferences, seminars, clinics, academic law school courses, continuing legal education programs, audio podcasts, and frequent publications and resources on contemporary land use, real estate, and environmental issues.

About Larrecca Music Management   LMM is charged in providing support and strategy for our clients, paying close attention to their creative goals, musical endeavors and legacy. With a focus on education, community and healthy living, our group is dedicated to developing programming that can inspire those young and old in their creative pursuits.

About Family of Woodstock, Inc. Since 1970, FAMILY has been an anchor for area residents- a place where people are respectful and caring, and where the search for solutions is creative and tireless. FAMILY’s shelters, emergency food pantries, court advocates, counseling and case management services, hotlines, and child care supports all work together to help people achieve the changes they seek.

About Hone Strategic, LLC.  Specializing in the adaptive revitalization, reuse and development of unusual and exceptional buildings and places, Hone Strategic’s prinicipal and founder Jennifer Schwartz Berky has worked for 30 years as an urban planner, community development specialist and conservation and development consultant for organizations such as New York City’s Division of Design and Construction Management, the World Monuments Fund, the World Bank and for government agencies and NGOs in Jerusalem (Israel), Rome (Italy) and several other cities abroad. Before founding Hone Strategic in 2012, Berky was Deputy Director of Planning for Ulster County for eight years.

The Kingston Urban Agriculture Zoning Project was made possible by generous public support including a donation from Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein.  

 

 

July 20, 2013
by farmkingstonny
Comments Off on What is Urban Agriculture and why is it important?

What is Urban Agriculture and why is it important?

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Urban agriculture can be defined shortly as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities.

The most striking feature of urban agriculture, which distinguishes it from rural agriculture, is that it is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system: urban agriculture is embedded in -and interacting with- the urban ecosystem. Such linkages include the use of urban residents as labourers, use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation), direct links with urban consumers, direct impacts on urban ecology (positive and negative), being part of the urban food system, competing for land with other urban functions, being influenced by urban policies and plans, etc. Urban agriculture is not a relict of the past that will fade away (urban agriculture increases when the city grows) nor brought to the city by rural immigrants that will loose their rural habits over time. It is an integral part of the urban system.

The rapid urbanization that is taking place goes together with a rapid increase in urban poverty and urban food insecurity.  Urban agriculture provides a complementary strategy to reduce urban poverty and food insecurity and enhance urban environmental management. Urban agriculture plays an important role in enhancing urban food security since the costs of supplying and distributing food to urban areas based on rural production and imports continue to increase, and do not satisfy the demand, especially of the poorer sectors of the population. Next to food security, urban agriculture contributes to local economic development, poverty alleviation and social inclusion of the urban poor and women in particular, as well as to the greening of the city and the productive reuse of urban wastes.

(Excerpts from the RUAF Foundation, Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security)