Plant the Seeds. Share the Harvest.

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OPINION

By Catherine Bushueff

As the snow melts away, green shoots can be found sprouting in the warmest and sunniest spots around the Sunapee area. Also, other “green” buds are developing, activities that revolve around: Community, sustainability and food. This parallels what is happening across the country.

Recently (March 15), Sixty Minutes (CBS) aired a segment with food legend Alice Waters, the founder of the world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse. She is also known for her vision and advocacy of sustainable agriculture.

“I have been talking nonstop about the symbolism of an edible landscape at the White House. I think it says everything about stewardship of the land and about the nourishment of a nation,” Waters said.

First Lady Michelle Obama with the help of young people broke ground on the White House grounds on Friday for a vegetable garden. They will also add a beehive. Hooray!

The message: Grow food locally and organically. Know what you eat. Be an active participant in protecting your health and your environment.

As the NY Times reported March 22: “At the heart of the sustainable-food movement is a belief that America has become efficient at producing cheap, abundant food that profits corporations and agribusiness, but is unhealthy and bad for the environment.”

As for the local connection…

  • Sunapee will hold a community-wide clean up, GreenUp Day on May 2. It will also promote recycling and other green ideas.
  • Ideas about “farm to table” are sprouting, as well. A group is meeting at Abbott Library to discuss the Menu for the Future. They are connecting over common interests and concerns.
  • A locally developed website (greatgrandmother.org) is about to launch. It will connect even more people with information about sustainable living, whole foods and local sources.
  • A farmer’s market may open in the old town hall in Sunapee. Organizing efforts are underway and hopefully will bear fruit.
  • A community garden, where people come together, grow and share produce, is another idea that could take root. Perhaps it could be at Ski Tow Hill, where a Victory Garden once before existed, or elsewhere in town.
  • Community Supported Agriculture: CSA groups are now advertising. They allow one to buy in and buy local, another way to cultivate community and support our farmers and neighbors.

It’s spring. It’s time to renew efforts to cultivate better food and healthier communities.

One Response

  1. A community garden–the traditional large plot of public land where folks sign up and pay a stipend to plant a plot–is an idea that has gained some social traction in town. I file this under the “easier said than done” column!

    Nobody in town is more profoundly involved in supporting local, sustainable agriculture than I am. But, managing a community garden is hard work and will only be successful if there are strict rules and complete mutual understanding from each party.

    I’ve run a couple of them in my life and am involved in setting up two of them now (one in VT and one in Mass). Whomever ends up taking on this project must have strong backbone and complete his/her research.

    They can be wonderfully rewarding and yield more than just fresh fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers. They can truly help connect a community and knit together the worn social fabric of our community.

    …and on the flip side, they can cause strife.

    Indeed, it’s worth the risk. The rewards could be great. So, do your homework and build a strong coalition of like-minded neighbors. Good luck.

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