Letters to the Editor August 18
About the school garden...
I want to clear up a few errors in the Aug. 11 Millerton News article entitled, “Garden Project Receives Structure,” about the garden at Webutuck School.
The garden has been one of many successful partnerships between the North East Community Center (NECC) and the school, used by teachers for classroom work and maintained by students after school and through the summer as part of NECC enrichment programs.
This spring, we asked the Board of Education (BOE) if the students could sell the produce they grew over the summer. We saw a great benefit to the students learning if they could see the value of the food to others; develop business skills by tracking money spent and earned; and have the responsibility to deliver a high-quality product in a timely way to their customers.
Initially, as the article states, we did intend to start a small farmers market on a different day than our Saturday Millerton Farmers Market, but after presenting this plan to the BOE, we realized that it would be much simpler to create a CSA — Community Supported Agriculture — in which people sign up to purchase shares and get a box of whatever produce is in season each week.
The cost for a share is $10 per week, and four families have bought shares. All the “profits” will be put back into the garden program to purchase more supplies, or if the school allows it, to build a greenhouse to extend the season and expand the learning opportunities for the students.
We emailed a letter to Webutuck’s business manager explaining our new plan, and our reasons for it, well in advance of the board meeting. However, it was caught in Ms. Grden’s [Webutuck business administrator] spam catcher and never distributed to the board. Since she and I communicate frequently by email, neither of us anticipated that this could happen. While I understand that this was frustrating to the board, we have made sure since then to give the school board all the information they requested.
NECC students are not selling shares of the produce they grow at the Millerton Farmers Market. Using the CSA model, the students have sold the shares in advance, and they are available at the market or at NECC for pickup only. This is important because the board made it clear to us that the students should not compete with farmers at the market.
With regard to the use of the school cafeteria, we did not use it without permission. Our staff person asked the cafeteria manager if we could use the kitchen. She said yes, so we went ahead and used it, on one occasion, to make pickles, which will be used in the school lunch program. Another NECC staff person came back a few days later to move the pickles into the refrigerator. A senior administrator handed her his keys and said, “Feel free.”
This program promotes farming education and good nutrition and enhances the academic curriculum. Teachers have embraced it, and I believe the administration and Board of Ed see its value, too. NECC is glad to contribute staff time, money and donated goods and services to help support Webutuck’s educational goals, and I look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of our students.
North East Community Center
Volunteers excelled at tournament
Amidst a monsoon, the Amenia Lions Club held its 20th annual Coed Day of Golf Tournament at Copake Country Club on Monday, July 25.
The Amenia Lions Club would like to thank the following individuals and businesses, along with the hearty golfers, for helping make our event a huge success in spite of the weather.
Special thanks are offered to Associated Lightning Rod (our Gold Sponsor) and Jack’s Auto Service (our Silver Sponsor) for their generous and loyal contributions over the years.
Other sponsors include: Bank of Millbrook; Barnes Insurance; Berlinghoff Electrical Contractor; Cascade Spirit Shoppe; Copake Country Club; Copperfield’s; CPA Services; CROP Production Services; Daniel & Porco, LLP; Darlene S. Riemer, Architect; Delango Automotive; Donald B. Dedrick Agency, Inc.; Downey, Haab & Murphy, PLLC; Dutchess Oil & Propane Company; Duxbury & Hermans, PLLC; Ed Herrington, Inc.; Four Brother’s Pizza; Harold Morford; Havens Real Estate; Hufcut Funeral Home; Jiffy Promos; Judge Manning Horse Transportation, Inc.; Karmann Auto Body; Law Office of Bethany Ralph; Little Professors Preschool (Maplebrook School); Macura Electric; Marshall & Sterling, Inc.; Northwest Lumber & Hardware; Premiere Dental Care; Ruge’s GMC for the Hole-in-One car (prizes); Salisbury Bank; Sears Hometown Store; Sharon Auto Body; Sherwood Modular Concepts; SPA Nails; Tamarack Preserve; The Pines Restaurant; Valley Veterinary Hospital, P.C.; Webutuck Teachers’ Association and Welsh Sanitation.
Money raised from the tournament goes toward student scholarships and assistance provided to individuals throughout the community. The Lions Club continues to look for projects that will benefit the local community and recently facilitated the purchase of a water heater for a local resident, which was then anonymously donated by the plumber who installed the fixture.
This is what your Lions Club does — it serves. It is only through your support and donations that we are able to make things happen. Thank you one and all.
Dear young people of Dutchess County, here’s an idea
By now you have given up trying to find a job, summer is getting old and you are bored. Your folks want you busy and you don’t have any idea what to do.
Solution: More than 29,000 people in Dutchess County, mostly children and senior citizens, do not have enough to eat. Their parents work but don’t make enough to make ends meet. They depend upon area food closets to supplement their food budget.
Unfortunately, many of our closets are nearly empty. Why not take the time to plan a food drive? You can keep it small, just your family and friends, or do it with your parents’ permission and ask for support around your neighborhood. Ask a friend to help or do it by yourself. Whatever makes you most comfortable.
Start by calling our United Way at 845-471-1900 or Dutchess County Community Action Partnership at 845-452-5104, ext. 130, to ask for the name, location and phone number of the food closet nearest your home. Call the food closet and ask if they have any specific needs. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t call you right back; some are very small, manned by volunteers and are only open a few days a week. Try another if you don’t connect.
Make a flyer (use your computer skills to make the flyer or better still your unique artistic talents to make them by hand) and list what is needed. Set a date, time and location for people to drop off the food. Then call your food closet to let them know when you plan on dropping off the food you collected during the drive. If dropping off the food presents a problem, some closets have volunteers that can pick it up.
That’s it. Simple, right? But it’s one of the most important things you can do for your community. Who knows, you may like it so much you will make it a regular event in your community. At holiday time many food pantries get donations, but it is easy to forget that there are hungry people year round.
Thank you for considering this very important opportunity. We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe.
Maureen Brennan Lashlee
Dutchess County Community