Venture out and enjoy the multitude of offerings at this year’s big Earth Day Festival next to the Rochester Municipal Park Duck Pond on April 22-24. Raising Rochester will have a booth again this year to spread the word of our efforts. Stop by and chat and be one of the first to buy one of Catina’s CarryAll bags, a Raising Rochester fundraising endeavor by a local 9 year old supporter. There will be lots of great food, entertainment, and presentations, too.
ROCHESTER FARMER’S MARKET BOOTH
This will mark our 4th year selling produce at the Rochester Farmer’s Market to support the operations of all of the KidzKare programs. The market is open every Saturday from May through October. We will be selling Catina’s CarryAll bags along with fresh microgreens throughout May. And maybe a couple of surprises, too! I will have our volunteer schedule online soon but if you would like to sign up now, just send me an email. Early shift is 7:30am – 10:30am and late shift is 10:30am – 1:15pm. Dates in May are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th.
SPRING GARDEN PREPARATION
The first order of business every spring before we can start planting is to clean out all of the dead plant material, weeds, and debris from the beds. For those involved with the school gardens, go ahead and do this as soon as possible. For the other sites, I will send out and post dates for garden prep later this week.
There are two sites with major changes this year due to losing the battle with deer and weeds. The large beds at Crittenton Hospital will be renovated and moved to the 2nd floor Healing Garden area. The smaller beds at Crittenton, along with all of the beds at the Rochester Athletic Club, will be renovated and moved to the Oakland Township Fire Station at Rochester Rd and Stoney Creek Rd where everything seems to grow bountifully. Many thanks to the valiant volunteers at those sites but I really want your hard work to pay off with a beautiful harvest feeding hungry people and not hungry deer. Deer at other sites, fortunately, have been kept to a minimum with consistent use of Liquid Fence.
Efforts over the past two years to plant cool weather crop seeds in April have been unsuccessful and frustrating. While the plants don’t mind the cool weather, the seeds will not germinate in cool soil. Therefore, we will delay the planting of all of our seeds until May 14th and after. We will be able to plant some cold tolerant seedlings before then.
For those involved with the school gardens, I want you to get first choice of dates so please email me ASAP to get your planting dates scheduled for May 14th and after. I would like to have all of the schools planted by June 5th and my volunteer planting team leaders need advance notice to make themselves available. For the other sites, I will send out and post dates for planting by the end of next week.
CINEMA IN THE CEMETERY
Mark your calendar! Guardian Angel Cemetery, on the southeast corner of Rochester Rd and Snell Rd, is hosting their 4th Annual Cinema in the Cemetery fundraiser for Raising Rochester on Saturday, June 18th. This year’s movie will be one of my favorites, “Minions.” Enjoy outdoor family activities and snacks before the movie starts.
NEW FOR 2016 – EDIBLE EVENING MONTHLY MEALS
Save Thursday evening, August 11th on your calendar, too, as KidzKare and some of Rochester’s best chefs will celebrate the beginning of the harvest season with the first of our new monthly farm-to-table meals. Freshly harvested in-season produce from Raising Rochester’s own gardens and several Michigan organic farmers will be creatively prepared into a multi-course culinary extravaganza. Enjoy local hard cider, beer, wine, and entertainment, too. Dates, menus, and ticket sale information to come.
5th ANNUAL BACK TO SCHOOL BONANZA
Saturday, August 27th from 10:00am – 2:00pm will be KidzKare’s health promotion and school readiness event at West Middle School to help local low income children prepare for the start of a new school year. If you are interested in volunteering or being a donor/sponsor, please email KidzKareRochester@comcast.net.
SCHOOL-BASED HOOPHOUSE UPDATE
We are in the midst of discussions and planning with the Rochester Community Schools to select the best location for our first school-based hoophouse. The hoophouse will allow us to grow produce year-round and offer hands-on educational experiences to students throughout the entire school year. This is a big endeavor in many ways and will cost $40,000. Thanks to a large grant from the Crittenton Hospital Employee Unlimited Potential Program and a large donation from the Crittenton Hospital Medical Staff, we have already collected $17,000 of the $40,000 that will be needed. I would say that that is worth celebrating!
We will be offering opportunities to donate through a crowdfunding program soon but if you just can’t wait, you can send a check payable to KidzKare and mail it to 150 S. Elizabeth Street, Rochester, MI 48307. At the latest, the hoophouse will be completed in May 2016 but there is a good chance that the school system will give us clearance to build in August 2016 so we need to be ready.
If you got to this point in the newsletter, I want to thank you for your patience. We have a lot going on in 2016 and we are really excited to be able to share with you. I hope to see you all soon!
Jay Mitchell, MD
Founder/Board Chair, KidzKare
Program Coordinator, Raising Rochester