Friday, September 6, 2013

Hudson Kids and Food

At the Common Council Youth & Aging Committee meeting on Wednesday, Youth Department recreation supervisor George Bednar reported that Katchkie Farm would be doing a program this fall at the Youth Center.

Katchkie Farm is the organic farm in Kinderhook that supplies Great Performances, Liz Neumark's empire of catering and cafes in New York City. It conducts farm programs for New York City kids, through the Sylvia Center, a not-for-profit whose mission is to inspire kids to make healthy food choices by exposing them to a wide variety of seasonal produce and teaching them essential cooking skills. Approximately 90 percent of the children the Sylvia Center works with in New York City qualify for free or reduced lunch at school. 

That Katchkie Farm will be bringing its program to encourage eating well to the Youth Center is certainly good news, but for some it recalls the bitter days of yesteryear when a similar program that existed briefly at the Hudson Youth Center, Kids in the Kitchen, the brainchild of local restaurateur and farm-to-table pioneer Carole Clark, was cancelled and its raised-bed garden "disassembled" to make room for a senior center which was never built.


  1. Thanks, Carole, for bringing attention to the promising Katchkie Farm program, and also for the shout-out to the sadly discontinued Youth Center garden-classroom. Carole Clark did great work with that program in 2009. Too bad the city demolished the garden the following year to make way for an extra parking space at the YC.

    If you don't mind, I would like to add to this narrative one small detail, which may be more important to me (for obvious reasons) than others. Carole Clark's fine Kids in the Kitchen program wouldn't have been possible without the garden itself, which was originally the brainchild of two other individuals: then-Director of the Youth Center Trudy Beicht and my wife, Kari Rieser, then a coordinator for a grant-funded childhood obesity program called Kids in Motion. Trudy arranged for space and programming; Kari's grant paid for the garden construction, soil, and equipment and for a refrigerator to store harvested food.

    A small correction, perhaps, limited to the share of credit for good outcomes (or, if you prefer, blame for the bad). But as an historian and husband, it was hard for me to resist...

    Thanks! Best,

    Andrew Rieser
    Poughkeepsie, New York

    1. Thank you, Andrew, for filling in the missing information in this story.