What's Happening?

What's Happening?

A hotbed of learning inside Central Park's Greenhouse

“Isn’t this beautiful?” 

Hassleer Jacinto-Whitcher holds up a garden container bursting with nutrition: a lush bed of kale microgreens. Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/2022-blog-images/Planting.jpg

“In 21 days you are going to be harvesting this,” Jacinto-Whitcher explains to four adults from the Schenectady ARC. 

An educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County, Jacinto-Whitcher demonstrates how to fill containers with freshly-mixed soil and plant the seeds that will soon grow into what he calls “a baby salad.” 

It’s early March and cold outside, but the greenhouse at Schenectady’s Central Park, where Jacinto-Whitcher provides instruction, is warm and bright. 

This is the first year that Jacinto-Whitcher has been able to teach students from the ARC during the winter months. 

A grant from The Schenectady Foundation enabled Cornell Cooperative Extension to make Jacinto-Whitcher and another part-time staffer full-time employees, a change that has allowed the organization to expand its educational programming.

Clients from the ARC, a non-profit organization that supports people with developmental disabilities, now learn about gardening year-round. A new youth gardening program has also been launched at five Schenectady schools. 

These efforts are part of a larger initiative funded by a $100,600 Healthy Food Access for All grant from the Foundation. 

Called Healthy Living 360, this collaborative project brings together Schenectady Community Ministries, Schenectady Urban Farms, CCE, the ARC and the city school district to figure out how best to get quality food into the homes of Schenectady residents. 

The hope  is that joining forces will enable these organizations to better meet the nutritional needs of the public, helping foster connections between different food programs and raising awareness of what’s available. Removing barriers, empowering families and making it easier for people to fill their households with good, healthy food are key objectives. Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/2022-blog-images/emptypots.jpg

“There’s that whole idea of teaching someone to fish as opposed to just giving them food,” said Sandra Chien Butts, assistant director of programs at Cornell Cooperative Extension. 

« Back to News