Community Gardening :


Community Garden

WESPAC has cultivated an extensive and cooperative network of food justice advocates throughout the county where we work together to enhance the existing expertise within diverse communities in the quest for a more sustainable food shed with more widespread access to fresh, local produce. We are proud of our role in promoting a more inclusive local food movement, and we continue to serve as an important resource for community gardens in the county by providing organizational and material support to both new projects and old.

I wanted to share these photos with everyone from last Saturday:

A big thank you to Alex, all the Pace students, Luis Sr and Luis Jr and Isa who came out to help!  We created three circular beds and planted arugula and radish in one of them.  We had a lot of fun out there, and the students would like to come back this Saturday morning to help dig two more beds in the garden if anyone would like to join in.

Laurie Evans –Director of Westchester SAFE (Seeking Alternatives for the Environment)


 Why compost?


As an environmental health advocate, I often ask myself, what can I do personally to conserve resources? What daily actions can we easily implement into our life style?


The Green Living Handbook: saving the planet…one household at a time, by David Gershon, details many actions which can be implemented to reduce, reuse & recycle. He includes the categories of garbage, water, energy, consumption and transportation.


One of the goals Mr. Gershon mentions is to reduce garbage – the ultimate goal is zero waste – so it mimics nature – where everything gets broken down & reused.  Food waste comprises about 25 to 35% of household garbage. It requires energy to haul it away where it is either burned or buried. Buried waste does not readily decompose. Composting enables individuals to turn food & yard waste into valuable soil. This can be used for gardening for food and ornamentals – either in the ground or in pots. This has further ecological benefits as it cuts down on the purchase of soil and soil amendments.


Most people think of composting outdoors, however, a simple container enables people who live in apartments to compost indoors. I have been at several apartments where people have indoor compost bins & they were not smelly. For indoor composting, red wiggler worms are usually used (source below). I never purchased worms for my outdoor compost pile, as the soil was full of worms and other microorganisms.


There are a variety of organisms that help to decompose the pile. Two types of decomposition are possible– thermophilic (reaches about 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (needs specific conditions) or vermicomposting (using worms). Some systems incorporate both types. Many home systems do not reach such high temperatures.


Items that can be composted are divided into two categories – greens and browns.


Greens include: vegetable and fruit wastes, grass clippings, weeds (without seeds), seaweed, eggshells, coffee grounds & filters, tea bags (remove the staple), manure: horse, cow, rabbit, chicken, goat.

Browns include: fall leaves, straw, shredded paper & cardboard (newspaper, paper towels, paper bags, sawdust), pine needles (not more than 10%).


Items that SHOULD NOT be composted: meat, bones, grease, oils, peanut butter, dairy products, DOG & CAT manure (as they can spread disease), diseased plants, weeds gone to seed or that spread by roots & runners.


It is necessary to use a ratio of about 3 parts browns to one part greens. The pile needs to be kept moist, but not saturated. It also needs to be aerated.



There are different bins that can be used – wire, wood or plastic bins. I do not recommend the tumbler. DO NOT USE PRESSURE TREATED WOOD as it contains chemicals. If animals might be a nuisance a closed bin is preferable. Plus, it keeps excess rain out.


Personal note: I have been composting for about 15 years. While there is a lot of information to read, the process is simple. My compost bins were built from pallets which were free. Someone hinged them together. I’ve been told that locust is a good wood to use, as it’s local and hard. You can also use wire.


I collect my food scraps in a bowl which I cover with a plate and take them to the compost pile every other day. 


I prefer a 3 bin system as I rotate which one I am using. It takes time for the food & yard waste to decompose. About every 4 months, I change bins so the old waste has time to finish.


In the fall, I pile my bins full of leaves. After the winter they are very compressed. When I compost, I add some leaves on top of the food scraps. I also add some dirt to the scraps so that there are more microorganisms touching them.


Although it was about 45 years ago, I remember distinctly that when my father took me fishing he encouraged me to add the worm to the hook. I was terrified of worms – yuck!!

Today, when the ground is not frozen, I delight in the multitude of worms in my compost pile & if I find a worm on the road at risk of drying out, I will even pick up a worm with my bare hands to place it in soil.


For me, composting is not a chore; it is a joyful experience where I delight in seeing how many worms I can find in the pile. I am in awe of the worms & the other microorganisms that convert my kitchen scraps & yard waste into sweet smelling nutrient dense soil.





Information and Classes:



1. Composting books available from the Westchester Library System


Let it Rot! Stu Campbell. 3rd ed. 1998, Storey Publishing, N. Adams, MA.


Worms Eat My Garbage, Mary Appelhof. 2nd ed. 1997. Flower Press, MI.


2. Websites:

Home composting: – extensive info – many topics – see heading small scale composting – bins, indoor & outdoor, uses of compost, care of worms, troubleshooting… – A simple guide to Backyard composting


3. Buy red wiggler worms (excellent quality) to use in an indoor bin system  Rhode Island


4. Composting Workshop: Free – Apr. 17 10:30am

The Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester (351 Main St. Mount Kisco, NY 10549)


Events – Pam Davis from the Cornell Cooperative Extension will teach you one of the easiest ways to make a positive impact on the environment- come learn the ins and outs of composting! 


Mt. Kisco Indoor Farmers’ Market 9:00 AM-1:00PM

5. Master Composting & Recycling class: Sheldrake Center – Larchmont, NY


 page 3 Spring 2009 newsletter  describes the class & fees Contact: Amy 914-834-1443   [email protected] or the instructor, Jennifer Jensen at <[email protected]>


The next MCRP starts May 4th, 2010 and goes through June 8th. Class meets once a week.




Acres U.S.A. is the only national magazine that offers a comprehensive guide to sustainable agriculture: eco-agriculture because it’s both ecological and economical. Comprehensive resource for books and they also do an annual conference.

Growing Food & Justice for All: How Westchester can play a role in the growing food justice movement and create a sustainable future


In late October of 2009 a few WESPAC members went to Will Allen’s second Growing Food & Justice for all Initiative (GFJI) in Milwaukee, WI to gather resources, network and figure how we can expand on the community gardening and nutrition classes we started last summer. The point of the gathering was "to create a network of activists who are working toward a just food system and world.  We are group of individuals, organizations and institutional partners aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture, but also linking with parallel social and environmental movements" (

With similar goals for Westchester County, WESPAC’s food justice committee aims to bring people together to work on food justice, community health and the environment for the purpose of transforming the local food system to meet local needs in a social justice context.

Will Allen, a former professional basketball player who grew up on a farm in Maryland, founded the not-for-profit organization Growing Power. Will started Growing Power in 1993 by buying the last functional farm in Milwaukee’s city limits. Its facilities include seven large greenhouses, a kitchen, indoor and outdoor training gardens, aquaculture system and a food distribution facility. Fish, worms, bees, goats, chickens, turkeys, and ducks are also raised there. Growing power conducts workshops and demonstrations in aquaculture, aquaponics, vermiculture, horticulture, small or large-scale composting, soil reclamation, food distribution, beekeeping, and marketing. Will was the recipient of the 2008 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" for his work on urban farming and sustainable food production with Growing Power.

During the three day gathering, we attended a variety of workshops from Bringing Fair Trade to Organic Agriculture and Using Media to Grow Food Justice to Using Art and Spiritually to Change our Community and the food system. There were tours thoughout Milwaukee to other projects and businesses that work with Growing Power to address food justice. We broke into regional meetings where we were able to connect with the hundreds of people who came from New York and the Hudson Valley. For many attendees that was the best part of the weekend:  connecting and building relationships with others from our region and around the country, sharing strategies and ideas on how to make our communities better.

Coming home from the gathering, WESPAC has organized a group of members to focus on food justice with the purpose of addressing the need to create an alternative local food system that guarantees people in the lowest income brackets access to affordable, fresh and local foods.  The WESPAC group meets  at our White Plains space on Tuesday evenings with representatives from other gardening groups, community members, students and activists to figure out the best way to transform Westchester in ways inspired by Will Allen’s Milwaukee model. If you or your organization is interested in joining this growing movement, please contact Jalal: [email protected] or Surya: [email protected]

Jalal, Sabur, WESPAC Foundation
Community Organizer

The New Jersey Raw Food Support Network of Bergen County is proud to present:
Sproutman, Steve Meyerowitz!
Saturday, January 23, 2010 ? 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Fee: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
CAN DO Fitness Club
42 City Place at the Promenade
Edgewater, N.J. 07020
For more information or to order tickets in advance contact Karen: (201) 934-6778 or [email protected]
Learn How to Provide Fresh, Home-Grown, Organic Greens in Winter "Year-round and pennies per pound!"
It’s Springtime in January!
Presented by: Steve Meyerowitz, Sproutman
Health Educator and Author of Sprouts the Miracle Food and Sproutman’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook
Steve Meyerowitz was nicknamed "Sproutman" in the 1970’s because his New York City apartment was always filled with gardens of mini-vegetables. They were part of his lifetime fight against chronic allergies and asthma. After 20 years of disappointment with orthodox medicine, he became symptom-free through his use of diet, juices, and fasting. In 1980, he founded "The Sprout House", a "no-cooking" school in New York City teaching the benefits of a living foods diet. He is the author of 10 books including Power Juices Super Drinks, Wheatgrass Na-ture’s Finest Medicine, Juice Fasting and Detoxification, and Food Combining and Digestion.
You can visit him at
Join Steve Meyerowitz, the Sproutman as he shows us how to incorporate supercharged micro-greens into your everyday diet and save big on your food bills! From your soil-free kitchen garden to your dinner table in the middle of winter for only pennies per pound! And no green thumb required! Living food doesn’t get any better than this! Find out how these amazing living foods add energy to your days, and years to your life. Sproutman calls it: “One Week from Seed to Salad.®”
Presentation followed by book signing and product sales.

InterGenerate is working with Westchester County Department of Parks, the Bedford Audubon, Groundwork Hudson Valley, Marsh Sanctuary, Lewisboro Garden Club, Rusticus Garden Club and Ward Acres Community Garden to hold a Westchester Community Garden Network event on Sunday, Feb. 7th at 12 noon at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. Speakers will address topics such as starting a new community garden, creating fertile soil, creating a 12 month growing season, building community at your garden and best practices for a successful community garden  

Community gardens reduce our carbon footprint, build strong community relationships and create equal access to fresh food.

Registration is necessary because space is limited.  See our website to register:


Peggy Clarke

Co-Founder, InterGenerate

Candidate for Unitarian Universalist Ministry

Director of Religious Education, UUBCO

GreenFaith Fellow


Jalal Sabur has started a community garden in Greenburgh, New York.  Community members have been helping him on Tuesday afternoons.  If you would like to help out, please call him at 914.439.1746