KATONAH, N.Y. – Westchester’s InterGenerate community gardens have been providing surplus produce to those in need while fostering a love for fresh, healthy food and community connections.
Founded by Westchester residents Peggy Clarke and Roseann Rutherford in 2009, InterGenerate helps locate and secure land for community members, assists with site design, handles infrastructure logistics such as composting and water supplies, and coordinates ongoing management in order to provide local Westchester residents with access to local food sourcing.
Annually, InterGenerate has donated more than 600 pounds of locally grown surplus produce such as kale, beans and peppers to senior centers, soup kitchens and food pantries. This concept of a Giving Garden, housed in each of InterGenerate's community gardens, requires that each member not only tend to their own plot, but also tend a larger communal plot which is harvested and then donated to those in need.
InterGenerate has over 100 members across Northern Westchester participating in its three growing gardens and hen cooperative. The InterGenerate Community Garden at Chappaqua also benefits from master gardeners and composters, who have provided educational workshops for garden members on soil management, good bugs/bad bugs, composting and organic food for plants. Joan Basile, Suzi Novak and Susan Rubin have all completed coursework at the New York Botanical Gardens, and are readily available to all gardeners needing advice.
Located in Mount Kisco, InterGenerate’s flagship Community Garden at Marsh Sanctuary, started in 2010, has 65 active garden plots and has hosted classes for gardeners offered by local farmer and InterGenerate board member Doug DeCandia, as well as educational visits for children from the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester.
The InterGenerate egg co-op at John Jay Homestead has been referred to as an ideal model for towns looking to bring year-round access to fresh eggs from healthy hens. Managed by co-op member Jenny Weisburger, participating families take care of hens during morning or evening shifts once every other week, and rotationally on weekends. Learning to care for hens while harvesting the fresh cage-free eggs is, as member Frank Fox says, "a rewarding experience, observing the hens and getting to know and work with other members."
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