For several months now, East Hills resident Carolyn Horowitz and her fellow volunteers have been cultivating land in that village, a project designed to grow pesticide-free vegetables to be distributed to local soup kitchens.
Last July 29, Ms. Horowitz and her co-workers, including Roslyn area residents Sabu Hayes, Sarah Huertas, Susan King, and Natalie Isaacs delivered a 22 lb. yield to the Mary Brennan Soup Kitchen in Hempstead. That harvest was just the beginning. Since then, two more bushels of food have been delivered to Hempstead. The 90 lb. harvest includes bell peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, jalapeno peppers, and eggplants.
Chef Chris Ricci and his staff at the soup kitchen immediately went to work in preparing the food for the needy that congregate at the soup kitchen. Leon Mack, manager of the soup kitchen, has also expressed his thanks for the bounty while hoping that Ms. Horowitz's garden might serve as an example for other Long Island communities to follow.
Ms. Horowitz looks forward to more produce being picked and delivered this fall. She said that both decreases in donations to food charities and hardships caused by numerous job layoffs in Long Island communities inspired her to create the garden. Plus, there was the idea of finding something to do with unused land at the old Air National Guard site in East Hills.
"The vision of a pesticide and herbicide free garden to feed those in need has become a reality despite having such obstacles as poor soil covered by grass, no means of irrigation, no volunteers, and no budget," Ms. Horowitz said last summer.
The garden's future no longer has to worry about the volunteer situation. Also, right from the beginning, Ms. Horowitz has enjoyed support for the garden from East Hills Mayor Michael R. Koblenz, especially for designating a 35' by 30' piece of land on the newly acquired village property for garden usage. Both Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi and State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli have given words of encouragement to the project.
In addition, Ms. Horowitz has received tangible support from Hicks Nurseries, which donated plants; Home Depot; Martin Viette, a local nursery; and Roslyn Kosher Foods in Albertson. Local landscapers and plumbers, including personnel from Long Island Compost, did a great deal of the yard work that made the garden a reality.