Displaying items by tag: pitney farm

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A family friendly kickoff to fall featuring food, music and individual and group art projects will take place Saturday afternoon at Pitney Meadows Community Farm.  Attendees will have the opportunity to create kites, flower crowns and a collaborative sculpture project - which will be installed at the farm.

The event is hosted by C.R.E.A.T.E Community Studios, a nonprofit organization that works with children and adults to promote freedom of expression, personal growth, and community connection through art.

 “We were formed by a group of art therapists and art educators,” says group co-founder Julie Lewis. “Our mission is really about bringing the expressive arts to an underserved population and working with communities to bring health and wellness - through the expressive arts - as a medium through which community togetherness can happen.”

The focus is on the process of art-making, which includes interacting with subjects, creatively working from a feeling, or becoming inspired by community issues. It is about using the creative process as a vehicle for personal growth, communication and social change.

“My interest came from my background of working in schools and specifically working with some low-income at-risk populations,” says Lewis, a NY State certified teacher. 

“I saw half of my students struggling so much with the academic side of things and what I realized is they weren’t struggling because of academic needs – they’re extremely bright – but because there was so much change and trauma and difficulty in their family lives. And they didn’t have a proper outlet for that in school,” she says. “The kids were clearly showing me that there were ways they wanted to utilize activities in terms of the arts and physical activity, music and the movement to express themselves. I felt a little powerless trying to change that in a school structure. I realized I really wanted to find a way to make a space for that.”

Inspired to seek like-minded collaborators, Lewis connected with Heather Hutchison – a state licensed creative arts therapist, and Aili Lopez, a licensed mental health counselor. “They both had a similar dream of opening up some type of community center focused around using all the arts – movement, music, visual, performance everything to help bring communities together and to heal,” Lewis says. 

C.R.E.A.T.E is located on Broadway in Saratoga Springs in the Collamer Building and on State Street in Schenectady and offers a variety of affordable art-based workshops for all age groups. The organization has also partnered with veterans’ groups and agencies such as the Franklin Community Center, Wellspring, and Shelters of Saratoga to offer programs for specific populations.

“We’re really focused on trying to meet all the needs of our community members,” Lewis says. A list of programs may be found on the organization’s website at: http://www.createcommunitystudios.org/.

Saturday’s events take place 3 to 6 p.m. at Pitney Meadows Community Farm, 223 West Ave. Tickets are $30 per family and $15 per individual and may be purchased in advance on the organization’s website, or at the farm on the day of the event.

Funds raised support C.R.E.A.T.E.’s mission to serve everyone who walks through their doors by providing a space where the benefits of art-making impact each person’s overall mental, emotion-al and physical health through free and low-cost open studio time, expressive arts groups for kids, teens and adults, arts workshops and community wellness activities, community building events and imperative outreach programming.  

Published in Entertainment
Thursday, 14 September 2017 12:36

Girl Scouts Collaborate at Pitney Farm

Photos provided by Dan Forbush and GSNENY.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Pitney Farm has had a very busy summer with numerous activities and projects. The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York (GSNENY) teamed up with them to create a fairy village. The GSNENY also kept busy this summer at the farm by painting rock markers, creating scarecrows, planting sunflowers, and growing food for Franklin Community Center. When it came time to create their fairy village, the Girl Scouts used natural materials such as bark, stones, and twigs.

“Girl Scouts in Brownies had the opportunity to earn the painting badge and outdoor art creator badge in a program at the farm on Saturday, Aug. 26. Juniors had the opportunity to earn the drawing badge and the outdoor art explorer badge on the same day. The last requirement for both Brownies and Juniors on the outdoor art badge is to design with nature. The fairy house decorating project fits in perfectly to complete the badge,” said Jess Clauser, Girl Scout leader at Dorothy Nolan Elementary, who is leading the art program in the Community Gardens.

 “The Girl Scouts are an important and delightful aspect of the garden. They are full of enthusiasm and spirit. My goal is to share the love of gardening I developed as a young person with others and hopefully they will enjoy being in nature, growing healthy food, and get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in preparing foods that they have had a hand in growing with their families and friends,” said Natalie Walsh, Gardens Director.

Walsh has been the garden's director since the spring and her responsibilities include overseeing the development of the gardens.

The GSNENY fairy village will be on display Saturday, Sept. 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“For the fairy house/garden decorating project each girl will get a small wood birdhouse as their starting off point. The houses have been pre-painted with milk paint and approved for use by Natalie. The houses are many different shapes and painted many different colors. The girls will decorate the houses, and then come to the event and the farm to place them into the fairy garden. The first event will be a fairy tea party! The girls can dress up or wear their fairy or butterfly wings if they own them, but it is not mandatory,” Clauser said.

Snacks such as cakes, cookies, and sandwiches will be provided at the fairy tea party and each girl will take a picture with their fairy house. They will have the opportunity to pick out a place in the fairy garden and situate their house.

“I have been involved in every aspect from the planting of the first seeds, to the construction of the raised beds, organizing volunteers, reaching out to the community and more. I have helped new gardeners get started, taught gardening skills on Saturday mornings, planned and planted the sunflower fields, organized events and publicity, and met with community members to let people know what a wonderful resource exists here. Each day is different,” Walsh explained.

Also at Pitney Farm this summer, community organizations such as the Mentoring Group, Saratoga Bridges, Saratoga Transitional Services, the Girl Scouts came regularly and worked in the garden.

“The farm under community ownership is brand new this year and the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York got in on the ground floor. Our first project was painting and decorating rocks for the herb garden,” said Clauser.

“In fact,” Walsh said, “Saratoga Bridges has helped me harvest food that I then deliver to the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry. Community supporting community. That’s a big part of the Community Garden’s mission. We are currently working on creating even more community involvements through the schools and senior center.”

This summer, Pitney Farm also ran a series of classes for adults on gardening and art classes for children to experience the garden through painting and drawing.

There are several children activities in the garden, including, a mini farm created by Judy Brunner. A pasture with fences and a pond with many animals you’d see on a farm surround this mini farm.

The garden also had much success with their food production; many tomatoes, kale, Swiss chard, tomatillos, herbs, melons, pumpkins, and much more had healthy crops.

In the spring, community members planted their own Mammoth sunflower seed, which they tended to all summer.

“Now the plants are fully grown and will be measured at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday the 16th. They are measured for height. The tallest wins,” Walsh said.

The Pitney Farm also rehabilitated their old barn this summer with the help of many community members, Habitat for Humanity, and students from local schools.

The Community Garden has more planned for the fall and they need volunteers to help make it happen. If you’re interested, visit www.pitneymeadowscommunityfarm.org for more information.

Published in Education
Thursday, 20 April 2017 13:05

Notes From City Hall

Workshop Set for Affordable Housing Ordinance

A City Council workshop on the much-debated SPA Housing Ordinance will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 4 at City Hall, Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen announced this week. The ordinance, if approved, would have a citywide effect on future development.   

A New Home for Retired Police Horse Jupiter

The council authorized an agreement - at no cost to the city -  to allow the transfer of retired police horse Jupiter to police officer Aaron Moore, who will care for “my fellow officer and partner as he transitions into retirement after serving our community.”  Jupiter, who is 24, will be transferred to Ballston Lake, “where he will be well taken care of by my wife and myself,” Moore wrote, in a letter read to the council by Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen.

Council Gives Thumbs-Up to Pitney Meadows Community Farm PUD

The council unanimously accepted a SEQRA Determination and approved the proposed Pitney Meadows Community Farm PUD - reporting that the project will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment.  The PUD, or Planned Unit Development, was sought for the development of a 35,000+ square foot agricultural center at the Pitney Meadows Farm, on West Avenue. The center will sit on a small non-farming portion of the land.

Projects slated to begin later this year include the development of the community gardens, the children’s greenhouse, gardens, and some trails and the renovation and repurposing of 11 historic buildings currently on the farm.

Last November, the council approved the $1.165 million city purchase of the development rights of the 166-acre Pitney Farm, to ensure the farm land remains a farm in perpetuity.

City Approves Purchase of Lands Adjacent to Loughberry Lake

The City Council unanimously approved the city’s purchase of two parcels of land, amounting to just over two acres, adjacent to Loughberry Lake. The parcels are just north of state Route 50 and will be purchased from Krista and Jason Tommell for $135,000 in Open Space Bond Funds. As well, $5,000 was approved for expenses associated with the purchase.

Should Loughberry Lake no longer be used as a reservoir in the future, the parcel could potentially serve as a pocket park with access to the waterfront for active or passive recreation.

Learn How to Grieve Your Assessment

A Grievance Class will be held 5:30 p.m. on May 9 at City Hall, Accounts Commissioner John Franck announced this week.

Grievance Day in Saratoga Springs is Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Grievance board members will be hearing grievances from 9 a.m. – noon; 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Residents can choose morning, afternoon or evening sessions and must submit completed application and documentation to the Assessment Office in order to be scheduled for a time. Applications will be available after May 1.

Upcoming Meetings

The Planning Board will hold a workshop at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 24 and a full meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 27 at City Hall. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 27 at City Hall.

Published in News