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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Festivities on the farm
Residents tour the gardens
By Shannon Koehle
Jina Papadoniou/Herald
Farm Volunteer Nancy Youngfert showed off the handmade gourd birdhouses she made.

Residents trickled into East Meadow Farms during the first annual Fall Farm Festival on Oct. 12 and 13. The open house, said Community Educator Bonnie Lynn Klein, was an opportunity to welcome visitors and disseminate gardening information.

During the two-day festival, volunteers, like Nancy Youngfert, gave garden tours, provided lectures on tips for healthy eating and sold hot apple cider and donuts. The popular plots included a Texas A&M trial rose garden, butterfly garden and dahlia garden. The organic vegetable garden was also a topic of conversation as the farm donates excess produce to the Interfaith Nutrition Network food pantry in Hempstead. Since March, when volunteers started cultivated the land, it has donated more than 900 pounds of food, added volunteer Cathy Newman.

To add to the festivities, Mitchell Allen, past East Meadow Kiwanis president, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick off his President’s Project. Allen connected with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the East Meadow School District to provide beds where students can grow crops.

“These gardens are a tool that will be used to inspire the minds of thousands of young students in and around our community and will hopefully become a model program for other areas as well,” Allen said. “Our children today do not understand how much work goes into growing one cucumber, how long it takes to take a small quarter-inch seed and grow it into a 15 inch, two-pound eggplant.”

All schools in the district will take part in this project, learning how vegetables and flowers grow and understanding the commitment that it requires.

Before the East Meadow Kiwanians, East Meadow Chamber members and student volunteers started digging in the dirt, Allen also thanked Legislator Norma Gonsalves for procuring funds to keep the farm, Chamber President Millie Jones for helping to fund the project and Superintendent Louis DeAngelo for integrated the farm into the curriculum.

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