Cap­i­tal Roots plants lat­est com­mu­nity gar­den in Co­hoes

The Record (Troy, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Lauren Hal­li­gan lhal­li­gan@digitalfirstmedia.com @Lau­renTheRecord on Twit­ter

CO­HOES, N.Y. » There’s a new com­mu­nity gar­den on Cayuga Street in Co­hoes, thanks to a lo­cal ini­tia­tive to bring both green space and healthy food to the area.

Cap­i­tal Roots, a Troy­based lo­cal food ac­cess non­profit, cut the rib­bon on its 54th Com­mu­nity Gar­den dur­ing at cer­e­mony on Tues­day at the 47 Cayuga St. site in Co­hoes.

The new Cayuga Street Com­mu­nity Gar­den will open for its first grow­ing sea­son in 2019 and will pro­vide space for 20 fam­i­lies to grow their own or­ganic pro­duce close to home.

“The com­mu­nity gar­dens pro­gram is re­ally the core of what Cap­i­tal Roots is about,” said chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Amy Klein at the rib­bon cut­ting event. “For 43 years we’ve been build­ing and man­ag­ing com­mu­nity gar­dens. They’re places where peo­ple can grow their own food. It’s about build­ing self-suf­fi­ciency - cre­at­ing these spa­ces but then let­ting peo­ple have the abil­ity to grow their own food, for years to come.”

The or­ga­ni­za­tion was joined at Tues­day’s rib­bon cut­ting by many sup­port­ers in­clud­ing U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, State Sen. Neil Bres­lin, As­sem­bly­man John McDon­ald, Land Trust Al­liance’s New York Pro­gram Man­ager Me­meHan­ley and Al­bany County Land Bank Corporation Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Adam Zaranko. Lo­cal neigh­bors, donors and fu­ture com­mu­nity gar­den­ers were in at­ten­dance too.

Per­haps the per­son with the great­est con­nec­tion to the new green space is Co­hoes Mayor Shawn Morse, as it was the site of his child­hood home. “This is where I was raised. This is where my house was. This is where I lived, with my mother and my two broth­ers,” the mayor shared at the event. “To­day I stand here so proud to think my house that I was raised in, that is no longer with us, is a com­mu­nity gar­den that will con­tinue to give back to the com­mu­nity.”

The prop­erty, once rid­den with knotweed and cov­ered en­tirely by brush and a crum­bling build­ing, now has a new pur­pose, one that will last a long time and have an im­pact on the city and its res­i­dents.

As an ur­ban land trust, Cap­i­tal Roots owns most of its gar­den prop­er­ties, so they are pro­tected for­ever. Klein said this is the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s 29th pro­tected green space, and each fun­der, part­ner and vol­un­teer were crit­i­cal to turn­ing the once-aban­doned lot into a safe, green space for fam­i­lies to en­joy for decades to come.

“Trans­form­ing un­used ur­ban spa­ces into a com­mu­nity gar­den en­ables for food se­cu­rity to be the out­come, and to be able to have sound adapt­able re­use of the­ses plots of land that re­ally add to the fab­ric of the com­mu­nity,” Con­gress­man Tonko said, con­grat­u­lat­ing Cap­i­tal Roots and its part­ners on the newly com­pleted project.

“It’s about a healthy life­style,” As­sem­bly­man John McDon­ald added. “We know that ac­cess to fresh, af­ford­able pro­duce is re­ally dif­fi­cult for those liv­ing in

ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties. Gar­dens like this make a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence in the qual­ity of life for these in­di­vid­u­als.”

Se­na­tor Bres­lin also con­grat­u­lated all those in­volved with the Cayuga Street Com­mu­nity Gar­den. “I hope 54 is just the start in the num­ber of com­mu­nity gar­dens, and I look for­ward to com­ing to ev­ery open­ing,” he said.

As the third commu- nity gar­den Cap­i­tal Roots has opened so far in 2018, funds from the Land Trust Al­liance New York State Con­ser­va­tion Part­ner­ship Pro­gram, the Co­hoes Sav­ings Foun­da­tion, as well as in­di­vid­ual and busi­ness donors made this project pos­si­ble.

More in­for­ma­tion about Cap­i­tal Roots and its pro­grams is avail­able on­line at www.cap­i­tal­roots.org.

Those in­ter­ested in gar­den­ing at the new Cayuga Street Com­mu­nity Gar­den are en­cour­aged to visit the Cap­i­tal Roots web­site or call (518) 274- 8685.

LAUREN HAL­LI­GAN — LHAL­LI­GAN@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

A rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony is held Tues­day for Cap­i­tal Roots’ 54th Com­mu­nity Gar­den, lo­cated in Co­hoes.

LAUREN HAL­LI­GAN — LHAL­LI­GAN@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

Cap­i­tal Roots chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Amy Klein speaks at a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony held Tues­day for Cap­i­tal Roots’ 54th Com­mu­nity Gar­den, lo­cated in Co­hoes.

LAUREN HAL­LI­GAN — LHAL­LI­GAN@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

A poster shows Cap­i­tal Roots team mem­bers cre­at­ing the Cayuga Street Com­mu­nity Gar­den in Co­hoes.

LAUREN HAL­LI­GAN — LHAL­LI­GAN@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

Sig­nage in­forms passersby about Cap­i­tal Roots’ 54th Com­mu­nity Gar­den, known as the Cayuga Street Com­mu­nity Gar­den, in Co­hoes.

LAUREN HAL­LI­GAN — LHAL­LI­GAN@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

Co­hoes Mayor Shawn Morse speaks dur­ing at a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony held Tues­day for Cap­i­tal Roots’ 54th Com­mu­nity Gar­den, which is lo­cated at the site of his child­hood home.

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