A garden gauntlet has been thrown

Wednesday September 5, 2012

When Pittsfield-based investment adviser Alexandra Dest read about the Giving Garden's contribution of organic, locally grown food to local food banks, the businesswoman said she immediately recognized the benefits of this work for people in the community.

The Giving Garden at the Pittsfield Church of Christ grows produce for food pantries and meal sites in Pittsfield. Each week, the garden yields about 500 pounds of fresh vegetables to help feed those in need.

Pastor Russell Moody says
the entire garden is maintained through donated plants and
100 percent volunteer efforts -- delivering cabbage, tomatoes, greens, carrots, potatoes, onions and other nutritious meal

Giving Garden's mission fits right in with the company Dest said she is forming, Global Regenerative Ag, which focuses on investments that build the strength and health of a community and its members.

To that end, Alexandra Dest Capital Management and an anonymous donor have issued a challenge to the community to match their $10,000 gift. The challenge -- to raise a total of $20,000 to buy a tractor to maintain the garden -- is only running for a short time; contributions need to be made by Oct. 1.

Matching donations can be made to the Pittsfield Church of Christ, P.O. Box 1251, Pittsfield, MA 01202, or by calling Pastor Moody at (413) 499-4700.

"We hope people will generously donate to help purchase a tractor that's necessary to maintain and expand the garden," said Dest. "It's a great way to help our community prosper today and tomorrow."

Piano duets program high lighted at Oxford: Pianist and Riverbrook Residence music director Jessica Roemischer
gave a multimedia presentation focused on her work with special needs students, specifically the women of Riverbrook Residence, at the Oxford Round Table held last month at Oxford University in England.

Riverbrook Residence, established in 1957 and located in Stockbridge, is the oldest all-female residence in the Northeast. It is considered a model of care for women with developmental disabilities.

Roemischer's presentation was titled "The Duet Paradigm: The Quantum Result of Empowering Women with Disabilities" and included a video called "Flying Free: Music Without Limits," which documents an acclaimed performance of original piano duets by the Riverbrook women.

Roemischer and her Riverbrook students have performed throughout the Berkshires and beyond, including at the Red Lion Inn, local houses of worship, Clark University, The Perkins School for the Blind, and on three occasions for Gov. Deval Patrick.

According to Roemischer,
the women have found a "voice" through their piano duets and a way to continue their music education.

The video performance was supported by Miss Hall's School, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Community Education Program, and Caroline and James Taylor.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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