Originally published in the Thousand Islands Sun
Todmorden, a small mill town in England, has figured out a way to feed its residents without relying on the government—or supermarket. The 15,000-person community took the initiative and built 70 raised beds throughout town, then grew as many different vegetables and herbs as they could fit. A small volunteer group called “Incredible Edible” then contacted public entities such as the fire and railway stations about using public land for planting additional crops.
Every school in Todmorden is now involved in growing, too; and several orchards have also been installed in the town. The food that grows is managed by volunteers; and any resident or visitor is welcome to stroll through Todmorden and pick to his or her heart's content.
If this is possible on a scale of 15,000, shouldn't it be extremely manageable for a community as small as Redwood? We've already got seven raised beds throughout the hamlet; and the Redwood Neighborhood Association, in conjunction with Hearts for Youth, will be installing a greenhouse next to the pavilion this spring. These strides bring us another step closer to self-sufficiency; and leaps and bounds closer to good health from locally produced, organic food.
And although it's still winter, pre-orders are going on now for flowering crabapple trees to plant in your front yards. The tree sales are part of an effort to beautify downtown Redwood. Several dozen trees have already been purchased, and many of those planted. If you drive along Route 37 and side streets, you'll see the young trees as they make their ways through their first winter in Redwood. If you'd like more information, get in touch with me and I'll point you in the right direction.
But let's not lose sight of the season we're in! It's finally starting to feel like winter; and with it we've got the first annual Mud Lake Classic Fishing Tournament from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday. Licensed fishermen from the Redwood area are invited to participate in a friendly catch-and-release tournament on Mud Lake. Registration is $10, with part of the proceeds benefiting betterArts (www.betterarts.org) and its efforts to increase access to arts and music in Jefferson County. A cash prize will be rewarded to the individual who catches and releases the most pike.
To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or stop in at the Redwood Tavern. Day-of registration is also available. See you out there!
Until next time, better be.
Nicole Caldwell is a writer and editor based out of Redwood. She also owns and operates Better Farm, a community outreach center and sustainability education space. Learn more at www.betterfarm.org.