Newsletter, Spring 2021

Welcome to the PSN’s first newsletter since our launch back in the wintry depths of January. It’s an exciting time – and not only because our beautiful Hudson Valley home will soon be in full spring bloom. The PSN’s first programs and collaborations are underway, new projects are being planned, and a small but dedicated network of neighbors has come together to grow, learn, support each other, and help feed their community this summer through the simple act of gardening.

The newsletter includes updates on projects, info on things we have planned in the next few months, upcoming events, and some resources of sustainability, resilience, food production, and ecology we hope you find as interesting/useful as we did.

Finally, there’s a link to a survey at the end that takes ~15-20 minutes to complete. We want to know what your priorities are for a sustainable, resilient Peekskill, and hear from people interested in collaborating to make these projects happen.

Thanks for following and Happy Spring!

PROJECTS

Start A Garden / Feed Your Neighbors

Everyone with a backyard or even a windowsill can grow a portion of their own food. Everyone, regardless of income, should have access to fresh, locally-grown produce. Taken together, these two ideals form the backbone of our first project, Start A Garden / Feed Your Neighbors.

Designed to encourage hyper-local food production and support local nutritional assistance programs, PSN is harnessing the combined growing power of volunteer gardeners to get fresh produce where it’s needed most. So far, the project has:

  • Enlisted 17 volunteer gardeners from across Peekskill and of varying experience levels to get growing;
  • Provided gardeners with organic, heirloom seeds for 24 different varieties of vegetables, including corn, tomatoes, squash, beans, greens, and more;
  • Provided custom growing advice for each variety of seed we distributed;
  • Collaborated with the Peekskill Regeneration Farm to offer gardeners additional growing expertise;
  • Hosted a social media page for sharing progress, photos, and encouragement.

We’ve also coordinated with local gardeners to source of 20 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and fruit for a new educational gardening program launching this spring at Woodside Elementary School.

Pop-Up Micro-Nurseries

Inspired by Lobelia Commons’ Decentralized Nursery in the great city of New Orleans, we’re encouraging Peekskill gardeners with seedlings to spare to create their own pop-up micro-nurseries throughout the city. It’s simple!

  1. When planning your garden, plant extra starters or buy a few extra seedlings from the nursery.
  2. Get a small display set up (a table, shelving system, ladder, etc.) somewhere accessible on your property – or a public space you’ve gotten permission from.
  3. Place a sign near the nursery that says ‘FREE’ – you can use this template or make your own.
  4. Let people know! Share the location, hours, and types of plants available on social media. Or, shoot us an email and we’ll add your pop-up nursery to our map.

Plan your nursery to be open in mid- to late May, when the gardening season really gets going and people are looking for plants. Keep them watered in a nice sunny spot and watch as they get snatched up!

RESOURCES

Reinhabit The Hudson Estuary

Are you familiar with the term bioregionalism? Wikipedia defines it as a philosophy which suggests that political, cultural, and economic systems are more sustainable and just if they are organized around naturally defined areas called bioregions. Natural features such as watersheds and mountain ranges replace arbitrary political boundaries; we become residents not of Peekskill in New York State, but inhabitants of Mough-hikan-ituck – the Arm of the Sea that Flows Both Ways, or, the Hudson Estuary – in the bioregion of Laurentia, stretching from Newfoundland to Minnesota.

Intruder, illustration by Carol Zaloom

An interesting way to think about things, and perhaps a useful thought experiment to help us better identify with, and properly care for, this place we inhabit.

Reinhabit The Hudson Estuary, a project by a New Paltz-based collective of artists, ecologists, and designers, guides us towards this new way of thinking through a collection of essays engravings, maps, and poems. Check out their amazing The Hudson Estuary as Bioregion map, complete with regional totem plants and animals – Peekskill’s is the Red Ash.

Inhabit: Territories – Grow; an earthbound guide to the arts of existence

Inhabit is a newsletter and self-described open source library of collective intelligence on art, permaculture, design, community organizing, and more. They’re the brains behind the ongoing #1400challenge, encouraging those who can to put their stimulus checks towards small projects that build local autonomy – free micro-nurseries, community fridges, etc.

Their March newsletter, Grow, is dedicated to that greatest of springtime activities – gardening – with a focus on community food security. Check out the cool video on sunchokes aka Jerusalem artichokes (who knew partisans in World War II planted hidden plots of these in the forest for sustenance?), an essay on adapting to the Gulf Coast’s changing climate by planting banana trees, and this very unorthodox approach to growing tomatoes.

RetroSuburbia: The Downshifter’s Guide to a Resilient Future

David Holmgren, one of the co-originators of the permaculture concept, has made this massive, 500+ page book available online for a pay-what-you-feel fee (the hard copy is about $70 USD); you can download it here. Written with an Australian audience in mind, the book is still useful for suburbanites in North America seeking to “downshift” to a more sustainable, less energy-intensive future. Includes sections on energy, water use, gardening, alternative living arrangements, disaster planning, and more, with case studies.

EVENTS

April 21, 6PM – Bountiful Westchester – Free Webinar

In celebration of Earth Day, local landscaper PLAN it WILD will host a free expert panel discussing rewilding, sustainable yards, and the latest research on Westchester’s canopy cover. Panelists include Peter Groffman Ph.D. (CUNY), Midge Iorio (Bedford 2030), Peter McCartt (Westchester County), and Andy Reinmann Ph.D. (CUNY). Register here.

April 24 – Home Composter & Rain Barrel Sale, Spring 2021

The Peekskill Conservation Advisory Council is partnering with the Greenburgh Nature Center to bring reduced cost rain barrels and food scraps composters to Peekskill residents – composters are $65 and rain barrels are $75. Order yours at the link above and pick up at Depew Park on April 24th from 9am to 12 pm (near Veteran’s Memorial Pool).

April 30 – Peekskill CAC Environmental Film Series

The CAC’s Environmental Film Series continues on Friday, April 30th with a watch party at 6:30 and panel discussion at 7:30. Last month’s event showcased “Hope on the Hudson” by filmmaker Jon Bowermaster, and included partnerships with local food purveyor Samosa Shack and Dylan’s Wine Cellar. April’s film is TBD; check Eventbrite and our Twitter for the registration link soon.

Every Sunday through Spring – Morning Practice at Regeneration Farm

Readings, meditation, and farm work sponsored by the Peekskill NAACP Environmental Justice and Climate Committee. Every Sunday from 7AM to 9AM at Regeneration Farm, 800 Main Street (Lepore Park).

SURVEY

Our community survey is live here (and here, in Spanish). Take 15-20 minutes to get in touch, share your thoughts, and let us know what your ideas / concerns are.

As always, reach out to info [at] sustainablepeekskill [dot] net or find us on Twitter @SustainablePeek – get in touch!

Published by Chris

Chris Barrett is a writer and non-profit professional based in the Hudson Valley / NYC.

%d bloggers like this: