2011-02-18 / Community

RWA Afterschool Kids Engage In The Arts

The students at Ocean Bay Community Center who participate in Rockaway Waterfront Alliance’s afterschool program spent their winter engaging in a range of activities in both the visual and culinary arts. They designed T-shirts, practiced theoretical garden design and made pottery in Native American tradition. Eating seasonally translated to the creation of many feasts. From the garden they harvested their cabbage, collard greens and Swiss chard and created Asian style dumplings. The cold frame provided enough greens for a huge salad party at which the students enjoyed a mix of Japanese mizuna, French dandelion and Italian kale. The kids spread holiday cheer by sharing with the community center apple galettes made from New York State apples and spice cookies from a handed down Scandinavian recipe. They continue to demonstrate to their peers a positive healthy and environmentally conscious attitude by preparing snacks such as home-made hummus with an assortment of root vegetables.

In the New Year the students have been back at work focusing on the 2011 garden season. Throughout the month of January the students put their attention to the New Year’s calendar, learning about the cycles of the moon and how this observance has been the key planting guide for gardeners since antiquity. The children then continued their study of plants by dividing the garden vegetables into categories of Fruit, Flower, Root and Leaf. In classes lead by RWA educators Keneisha Turner and Elizabeth Gilchrist, they discussed agro ecological issues such as biodiversity, organic methods, the importance of locally sourced food, and the benefits of growing one’s own.

As a team they chose what seeds to be planted, considering Rockaway’s environment, and varieties of vegetables that would reflect the breadth of the peninsula’s many cultures. In the next few weeks seeds will be planted inside and transplanted to the outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. The students have made garden signs out of salvaged wood and lent their artistic skills to help make the garden an even more colorful display. Please notice the garden in the coming spring months as the children look forward to the sprouting of their fall planted bulb flowers and future outdoor projects such as bean pole teepees and trellises for spring peas. The children and educators would like to thank Rockaway Waterfront Alliance for continuing support of their garden located at NYCHA Ocean Bay Community Center at Beach 57 Street and Beach Channel Drive.

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