Carin DeNat and her husband Mark presented a plan to the Saugerties town planning board to allow members of the Long Spoon Cooperative to use their property at Route 32 and Kelly Road for a gardening and education program. Over the years, DeNat said, she and her husband discussed many ideas for the property, from putting up a house to establishing a tree farm. They have planted some 1100 trees and envisage a “green cemetery” in the property.
The DeNats did not develop the land for 17 years. Four years ago “at the Saugerties Farmers Market we met a group of idealistic, energetic, talented people. We have been working together growing food, building soil, collected acorns – all the good stuff we read about our grandparents doing.” The DeNats sought a special-use permit to allow a farming project in a residential zone.
Chase Randell, speaking for the group known as the Long Spoon Collective, which grew out of Sustainable Saugerties, part of the Transition Town movement, said the creation of a garden at Saugerties High School had been among their past projects. The Long Spoon Collective is a loosely organized group of people who hope to develop a more sustainable form of food production. The group is leasing just over ten acres from DeNat to develop an educational program for young people.
What would they do there? They might bring a group of young people from the Boys and Girls Club to grow potatoes, for instance. Or they could organize field trips for youths. “We would be doing as much as possible without fossil fuels,” Randell said.
Given the size of the property and the location, “no one would know we are doing these activities. We would not be using any machinery,” Randell said.
Board chairman Howard Post said the group needed to answer a lot of questions, What about the location of parking areas? How many events would be held there? What would rhe hours of operation? What about bathrooms or outhouses?
The proposal is in a preliminary stage, with considerably more detail to be shown on the map and discussed at future board meetings.