2011-04-29 / Community

Culinary Kids Programs Thrive And Grow

The chances of seeing a sustainable food future on the peninsula have improved dramatically over the past several months, says a spokesperson for the Culinary Kids Culinary Arts Initiatives, who announced that, due to strong support from community groups, churches, elected officials, Community Board 14, funders, and the local media, the group’s food justice programs on the peninsula will be “growing” by leaps and bounds this summer.

Founders, Chefs Marion and Malisa Moses, say the group will be launching Farm Rock-away, at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 58 Street, to expand on their urban aquaculture program started two years ago at Beach 31 Street and Seagirt Boulevard. Aquaculture involves growing vegetables and fruits in a soil-less medium, in many cases fertilized by the natural waste products of fish farming.

In another development, the Culinary Kids will be partnering with the First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach, which will allow them to expand their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to a second location this summer. Those who enroll and purchase shares of organic produce for the 2011 growing season may opt to pick up their produce at either of two locations: the original Far Rockaway site (Beach 31 Street and Seagirt Boulevard), or at the Rockaway Beach church, located at 320 Beach 94 Street. Pickup is on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the growing season.

To learn more about the expanded CSA and Farm Rockaway, officials urge those interested to come to a workshop on Saturday, May 14, from 2 – 4 p.m., at the Peninsula Branch of the Queens Public Library, Beach 94 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Special guest speaker will be noted aquaculture expert Dr. Martin Schreibman, who will do a presentation on his research with tilapia fish farming at Brooklyn College. There will also be a screening of the film “Nourish,” narrated by Cameron Diaz, and participants can pick up a pocket guide with tips on buying sustainable seafood, produced by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. After the program, the group will take a short walk to see the new CSA pickup location nearby.

The deadline to sign up and submit your family’s membership fee for the Culinary Kids CSA is June 1.

Produce distribution begins on June 18. Details on the CSA, including a sample list of the types of produce provided in the past, will be given out at the Peninsula library workshop. Culinary Kids are presently raising money to fence the Farm Rockaway plot.

A spokesperson says that those who would like to vote to get fruit orchards for the Farm Rockaway Project can visit www.ioby.org for more details. “Rockaway’s votes count!” he says. The Farm Rockaway Project is also featured at www.communitiestakeroot.com, where the public can also vote for the community to get fruit orchards. “Let your voice and your vote be heard,” the spokesperson says, “to help ‘green’ the ‘food desert’ areas of our peninsula!” For more information on Culinary Kids and to sign up for their newsletter, email them at: info@culinarykidsdaycamp.org.

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