Roosevelt Family Home Garden Report 2023

A Year of Flourishing Partnerships

Every year, the Roosevelt Home Garden’s community partnerships pay huge rewards to our garden, the park, and its visitors. Through partnerships, we gain knowledge, expand our outreach, get inspired, and inspire others.

Home Garden Volunteers planting seeds
Home Garden Volunteers in April 2023, preparing for the upcoming season. Photo: Gerald Berliner

Dutchess Outreach: Our Partner in Food Access

Dutchess Outreach, the garden’s partner in community access to locally grown food, is a constant source of ingenuity and innovation in addressing community needs. This year, they revamped their market to make it the most enjoyable and inclusive farm market in the region. Changes include: the schedule – now once a week on Wednesdays; the location – right next to their own beautiful production and community garden at the Family Partnership in Poughkeepsie; and their pricing – pay what you can or free. In combination, these adjustments have created a market that welcomes everyone and offers a joyful way for all of us to celebrate and benefit from locally grown food. This year, 360 crates of produce grown in the Roosevelt Home Garden were donated to Dutchess Outreach, which is the largest donation from any farm or organization to the market. We look forward to bringing additional donations next year to supplement the growing need for fresh produce. Participating in this market supports all of Dutchess Outreach Feeding programs, so please check it out in 2024.

Partners in Education:
From Pre-K to College, and Beyond

Overlapping interests and missions have connected us in new and meaningful ways with our partners in schools, colleges, and life-long learning programs.

Park staff visited the Pre-K/K classroom at Poughkeepsie Day School this spring to help them plant their garden for a curriculum that culminated with their own  farmstand at school. The class came to the Roosevelt vegetable garden a few weeks later to help us with some big garden projects!

Collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America generated a range of unique educational opportunities throughout the year. Fourteen Masters in Sustainable Food Systems students visited the park in the summer, and 20 Farm to Table Students came for a tour of the garden and archives, where they explored the journals of the Roosevelt’s Gardener, examined historic photos and interesting artifacts like Eleanor Roosevelt’s Japanese pruners and a jar of Val Kill honey labeled for holiday giving. These college students returned later to join the PDS Pre-K/K group, harvesting produce for a cooking class back at school with the kids. We were delighted to see how our garden has become a catalyst for bringing partner groups together!

Culinary Institue of America Students in the Home Garden
Picture of Mushrooms Growing on a Log
Friends at the Culinary Institute of America shared inoculated mushroom logs for the Small Space Garden Exhibit. Photo: Elizabeth Walden
Picture of Mushrooms Growing on a Log

Thanks to our ongoing partnership with Vassar College we welcomed Morgan Miller, a Science, Technology and Society student.  Morgan split her days between horticulture every morning and independent research every afternoon. She pursued research on Springwood Estate management in the FDR Presidential library where her work resulted in the translation of a shorthand notebook of Sara Delano Roosevelt’s dictated correspondence which sheds light on her day to day affairs. Morgan also developed an interactive mapping tool for sharing information on the garden designs of Beatrix Farrand across the country, and developed a tool for evaluating the impact of a new public tour of the vegetable garden developed this year. She won the Open Space Institute’s Barnabas McHenry award for her work in landscape preservation and conservation.

Morgan Miller
Morgan Miller
Morgan Miller

Gardens inspire life-long learning, and we were fortunate to see the robust return of adult learners to the vegetable garden this year.  The Cultural Landscape Foundation brought landscape architects and landscape afficionados to the garden. Bard Life Long Learning students dove into soil science with a lab-based class led by our horticulturists. Garden clubs are happily back to visiting with expert questions and lively curiosity.

Local Library Partners

Library partnerships were especially fruitful this year. NPS Horticulturist Susan MacAvery participated in the FDR library/NPS collaboration “Common Ground” video series. Her interview about the Roosevelt vegetable garden with FDR library Education Specialist, Jeff Urbin, can be viewed below.

Partners Within the Park

Our colleagues in the interpretation and cultural resources programs advanced the garden in several new ways. Interpretive Ranger Megan Porter developed a tour of the garden for visitors that connects the garden themes to the Roosevelt legacy and history in Hyde Park. Ranger Elizabeth Walden used her masterful photography and journalism skills to share garden updates through some of the most liked social media posts in the park. NPS carpenter, Chad Rymph, constructed the beautiful new garden information kiosk designed by our 2022 Vassar College Intern. 

Picture of a park ranger conducting a guided tour of the gardens
Photo: Elizabeth Walden
Home Garden Tour Sign
Picture of The Home Garden Kiosk Under Construction

Dave Hayes, Resource Management Team Leader, retired this year. Dave has been instrumental in the re-establishment of the vegetable garden since the earliest planning stages.  He supported the garden to the very end of his tenure, constructing the wooden grape arbor at the northwest corner of the garden and freeing our tractor from a giant hunk of buried rubble in the midst of spring planting season. Dave is missed on every conceivable level; his legacy is large in the vegetable garden.

Picture of David Hayes
David Hayes and Anna de Cordova, NPS Horticulturist. Photo: Jennifer Henion.
Black and White Archive Shot of the original garden trellises
Picture of grapes growing on the new retored trellises
Picture of a volunteer gardener working on a new park bench
Benches for the vegetable garden were purchased from a generous gift from the trust of Donald Borquist, a former park employee who passed away in March.

Research Partners

Cornell University continues to be our go-to partner for research-based information on soils, crop production and organic pest management. Their soil lab analyzed our vegetable garden samples and determined we have achieved an excellent level of soil health over the past five years, but reducing tillage in the future will help us to improve even more. We used Cornell’s guidance to establish a comprehensive program to manage pests of cucurbits this year, including the use of trap crops, landscape fabric ground covers, resistant varieties, bug-picking, and organic sprays. Last year, Cornell Cooperative Extension advised and loaned us equipment for a beneficial nematode trial.  Thanks to this help, the garden had fewer problems this year with soil born insect pests (onion/cabbage maggots and wireworms) and produced a bumper crop of delicious Upstate Abundance potatoes.

Picture of a crate of potatoes
Photo: Elizabeth Walden

Garden Volunteers

Perhaps our closest partnership of all is with the amazing volunteers who help us to plan, plant, maintain, and harvest the garden.  Eleven new and repeating volunteers joined the ranks this year, with a total of 75 volunteers contributing 1,013 hours caring for the vegetable garden and the Rose Garden & Gravesite at the Home of FDR.

Picture of Volunteer Gardener at work
Photo: Elizabeth Walden
Photograph of fresh produce from the garden
Photo: Elizabeth Walden

The Landscape and Garden Division of the Roosevelt Vanderbilt NHS thanks the Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation for their continued support of the Home Garden Restoration. Their support ensures the interpretation of an important legacy of the Roosevelt family in Hyde Park and allows us to connect our community and visitors to their stories.

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CAITLYN GERMINARO is a Human Services professional whose passion is supporting and advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Caitlyn is currently a Training Specialist for a non-profit organization serving people with disabilities and partnering with communities across 38 counties in New York State. In 2022, Caitlyn received a CP State Annual Conference Staff Recognition Award. She also received the 2023 Leadership Dutchess Community Advocate Award and graduated from the Leadership Dutchess program. Caitlyn holds a BS from The College of Saint Rose and an MS from Walden University. A golfer, gardener, and sunset enthusiast, she lives in Red Hook, NY, with her husband and their two dogs.

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DAVID SCHWARTZ Born in 1951, David grew up in New York City. In 1972, he received his B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance. Following graduation, David began his career with Mikasa, a leader in the Tableware and Housewares industry – first in sales, then in management and as a company principal. Following the company’s initial public offering on the NYSE, David retired from the firm in 1996 and has since made his livelihood as a private investor. Recently, he’s become an active member of the Hudson Valley Start-up Fund, an Investment group that seeks to enable a stronger business ecosystem for entrepreneurs in the Hudson Valley region.

RUDOLPH S. RAUCH is a retired journalist and magazine editor. After graduating with a degree in English from Princeton University in 1965, he worked for two years at Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany, and attended the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1969, he joined TIME Magazine, where he covered Wall Street; served as European Economic Correspondent, based in Bonn, Germany; was a correspondent in the magazine’s Saigon Bureau for fourteen months; and then spent three years covering South America for TIME, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rauch returned to New York as Deputy Chief of Correspondents after a two-year stint as TIME’s Atlanta Bureau Chief. In 1980, he was named the Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and later was Assistant to the Chairman of Time, Inc. Rauch has also served as editor of the quarterly magazine CONSTITUTION, and from 1998 until 2003 was Editor of OPERA NEWS. A long-time director of Scenic Hudson, Inc., Rauch is currently on the board of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, and the non-profit weekly newspaper, THE HIGHLANDS CURRENT. Rauch is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and lives in Cold Spring, NY.

Evan Jenkins is an architect based in Los Angeles. He serves as Director for Architecture and Development at Atlas Capital Group, a 100-person real estate investment, development, and management firm, with 65 projects between New York and California totaling 14 million square feet and $7 billion in value. Evan holds master’s degrees in architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and real estate development from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where he was Glascock and van Beuren Fellow at the Center for Urban Real Estate. A native New Yorker, Evan is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the American Institute of Architects, and the Urban Land Institute. He is Treasurer for the Harvard Heights Neighborhood Association and an advocate for historic preservation at Hyde Park and beyond.

ERIN HOAGLAND serves as the Director of Conservation for the Dutchess Land Conservancy. She is a lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley with an affinity for the natural world. After graduating from Marist College with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy, she started a career in land conservation. Erin has been able to apply her passions by working to implement and manage conservation projects on both natural lands and working farmland that protect Dutchess County’s invaluable scenic resources. Erin joined the FDR Hyde Park Foundation Board in 2017.

CANNON CARR is Chief Investment Officer for CornerCap Investment Counsel. Prior to joining CornerCap, Cannon was a senior equity analyst at CIBC World Markets (1998-2007), covering IT business services, wireless services, and emerging telecom. Cannon has provided commentary on CNBC, CNN, Lou Dobbs MoneyLine, and Bloomberg News. He has also been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Fortune, among other publications. Cannon has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from Princeton University in Political Economy.

CHARLES BUICE serves as President of Tiger Foundation in New York City. The foundation works to help break the cycle of poverty for New York City families by investing in nonprofit human service organizations in the education, employment, youth and families, and criminal justice fields. Previously, Charles worked in the magazine publishing business in San Francisco and New York City. Charles also serves as a Trustee of The Steele-Reese Foundation and is on the board of A Public Space, a nonprofit publishing enterprise, and of Philanthropy New York, a member organization serving the foundation community in and around New York City. Charles has a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

EILEEN COSGRIFF is a Program Manager for Santander Bank in Boston, MA. She leads the US Project Management Office’s business analysis and UAT practices. Prior to Santander, Eileen worked at Deloitte & Touche LLP and Fidelity’s National Financial Services. In addition to work in financial services, Eileen has field experience in architectural history studying Thomas Jefferson’s designs and building methods at Poplar Forest, VA as well as rebuilding homes in New Orleans, LA under the sponsorship of World Monuments Fund. Eileen has a master’s in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University and a BS in Finance from Providence College. She also volunteers with local community redevelopment organizations, as well the Old North Church, Boston, MA where she and her co-gardeners received the Good Neighbor award in July 2017 for tending to the 18th-century reproduction garden.

G. DAVID PHELPS HAMAR is a Managing Director & Head of Wealth Advisory Services at Chilton Trust. Mr. Hamar advises individuals, trusts, and foundations on a wide variety of financial matters, including portfolio construction, philanthropic advisory, and tax and financial planning. Mr. Hamar is the Founder and Chairman of the Brantingham Preservation Group in the western Adirondack Park, is a Director and Treasurer Emeritus of Virginia Polo at the University of Virginia, and served on the Steering Committee for the formation of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. Mr. Hamar is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law (1990) and Old Dominion University (1983). Mr. Hamar is admitted to the Virginia State Bar and is a CPA. He resides in Manhattan, Onteora Park, and Brantingham, New York.

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John Winthrop (Wint) Aldrich retired from a career in N.Y. State government and continues his life-long activism in land conservation and historic preservation, especially in the Hudson River Valley. A graduate of Harvard College who served as an Army officer in Vietnam, from 1974 until 2010 Wint held posts on the executive staffs of the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – in the latter agency as the State’s Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation. Also, Wint has served as a consultant to the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, a unit of the National Park Service.

KEVIN BURKE is a historian, journalist, and documentary film producer. In addition to serving as the director of research at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, he is the founder and CEO of Kevin Burke Productions, Inc., a New York–based company, through which he has hosted and produced the award-winning podcast series Your Hometown. Burke’s film credits include working as a producer on the popular PBS series Finding Your RootsMaking Black America: Through the Grapevine (PBS, 2022); the Emmy-nominated series The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This is Our Song (PBS, 2021); and Reconstruction: America after the Civil War (PBS, 2019), winner of the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. With Henry Louis Gates Jr., Burke is the coauthor of And Still I Rise: Black America since MLK (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2015) and co-editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, Twelve Years a Slave (W. W. Norton & Co., 2016). Burke graduated from Harvard College in 1998 and from Harvard Law School in 2003. He received his master’s degree in History and Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard in 2004 and 2006, respectively. A member of the New York State Bar, Burke serves on several boards, including as chair of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Conservancy. He and his wife, Anna Barranca-Burke, live with their two children in New York City.