School Connections: An Opportunity to Be Creative

DESIGNING THE FUTURE
OF PITNEY FARM 

A new nonprofit organization, Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. acquired the 166-acre Pitney Farm on Dec. 15, 2016 with the help of a $1.13 million investment in the project by the City of Saratoga Springs.

On March 5, 2017, the Pitney Meadows Board of Directors held a Public Forum aimed at getting the community's ideas on how to make the most of the farm. This is the second in a series of articles in which we'll share highlights of the brainstorming that took place that day and the future toward which they're pointing.


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The two 15-minute breakout sessions focused on Pitney Meadows' potential connections with area schools covered a wide terrain. They were led by Phyllis Aldrich, former developer of enrichment programs for the 32 schools of the BOCES region, and Dan Forbush, who is developing a team of young writers to produce Around the Silo with a focus on the greening of Saratoga Springs. 

There were three main areas of consensus: 

  • The Pitney Farm can be a resource not only in farming and agriculture, but in sustainability generally
  • Pitney Meadows should pay special attention to the link between curriculum and marketing and be sure that we offer a compelling package for schools with scarce funds for “extras”
  • Pitney Meadows has an opportunity to be creative in combining agriculture with science curricula in the schools at all levels

IDEAS GENERATED:

  • wheelchair accesssible trails
  • a biodynamic approach similar to approach taken at the Waldorf School
  • an agriculture campus for high school students similar to the area high school that's already been established in high-tech
  • establishment at Saratoga Springs High School of a Future Farmers of America chapter
  • hands-on workshops in growing plants
  • a beekeeping program
  • Integration of agriculture into science curricula at all levels
  • Incorporation of music and art events
  • use the farm as an arena in which to practically show applications of math
  • use the farm as facility for teaching problem-solving and skills like carpentry
  • use the farm as a forum for science experiments
  • establish a program by which the farm supports school gardens and forges partnerships for "exporting" gardens
  • create week-long farm and science camps for kids from urban areas
  • explore alliances between Pitney Farm and a new media production center that SSHS may create
  • composting projects and programs
  • recycling projects and programs
  • a carefully conceived marketing and curriculum plan that schools find compelling and attractive 

RESOURCES/PARTNERS: 

  • Saratoga Springs High School
  • Waldorf School
  • Hudson Valley Seeds
  • The Food Project in Boston
  • Soul Fire Farm
  • Wesley Senior Citizen Center

PARTICIPANTS:

  • Sofia Post
  • Michelle Reilly
  • Deb Shea
  • Leslie D Carlo
  • Jody Terry
  • Colin Klepetar
  • Robin Ambrosino
  • Matthew Kopans
  • J. Eva Nagel
  • Dan Forbush
  • Phyllis Aldrich
  • Tamara Davis
  • Peyton Yourch