Incredible Edible Merchantville is scheduling a kick-off meeting in early January and hope that many residents, Green Team and Garden Club members will be able to attend. We'll be giving updates on progress and partnerships developed since our December meeting and discuss plans for moving forward in 2019. In the meantime, we invite you to join the discussion on our FB page and FB Group page to browse through our information and share your thoughts about this proposed community stewardship and sustainability project.
Urban gardening may be catching on now, but today's urban gardeners have nothing on their grandparents - urban farming was way more than a fad in the 1940s. During the World Wars, the U.S. government urged citizens to plant their own small vegetable gardens. It was a super positive spin on "We don't have enough war rations." I don't know what people would do today if the government asked them to grow cabbage in their front yards, but people back them were ready. Around 20 million families planted victory gardens. They grew 40 percent of the country's vegetables by 1944. Hopscotch was supplanted by a new and serious game for these Girl Scouts called Plant the Victory Garden. Victory Gardens - for family and country.
St. Martins is a close-knit community. Not too long ago a group of passionate community members got together as a group that they called the St. Martins Area Communiteers. Watch two of the group's prominent figures, Fern and Kathi, and a few community residents tell us about the impact one of the Communiteers' projects, called "Incredible Edible", had on the village. It’s brought people closer, connected generations and beautified the village, all while promoting healthy living. The magic of a community that's empowered to affect change for the better is that the project stemmed into multiple other initiatives, and brought a huge sense of pride to all those in the village. Wellness lives where we can communities - and generations - come together. Wellness Lives Here.
Look at the amazing rain garden created by members of Merchantville's Green Team and Garden Club over the weekend near the multi-use path and the Station. It's not only pretty, but it works! Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers that made it happen. A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope. It is designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns. Rain gardens can also help filter out pollutants in runoff and provide food and shelter for butterflies, song birds and other wildlife.
Chris Waldron, director of Sustainability and Shared Services, Camden County, was the main speaker. He explained his duties and services that he could provide out of his Lakeland, NJ facility. Following the discussion, we all, under Chris’s leadership, were able to begin making plans to start our project. We will get in contact with a Master Gardener located at Rutgers; outreach to Dina Turan to determine Merchantville Elementary School's interest as a stakeholder in the education component; research registration required for grants available for the project - with assist from Chris; attend Tri-County Sustainability Alliance - meets and often works with county partners on projects; Dorothy Foley volunteered to take our minutes to the Green Team meeting after our meeting; and planting survey/plans - first planting place should be very visible so people become acquainted with the project and then become involved as our work begins to take shape. An invitation to visit Chris’s facility any time (Saturdays 10 am—noon) was extended to the group.
Sonia Kendrick isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and has become a great example to veterans suffering from PTSD. Sonia lives in a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And while she farms a total of 25 acres, it's sprinkled across the city in everything from quarter-acre patches to eight-acre parcels.With the help of American Legion FW Grigg Post 68 we hope to partner with local vets to heal food insecurity and promote their emotional and physical well-being. https://www.womansday.com/life/inspirational-stories/a22118919/veteran-feed-iowa-first/
Last fall, a half-dozen teenagers from the Southern New Jersey city of Camden brought hot peppers they’d grown in an urban garden to a rented industrial kitchen. Donning latex gloves, they de-seeded and chopped the chilies before adding them to vinegar and salt. A few days later, they processed and bottled the resulting product into their own brand of hot sauce, Kapow! The group is part of a teen-focused entrepreneurial program called Eco Interns, offered by the Camden-area Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET). The mission of this nonprofit is to create a sustainable, healthy source of fresh fruit and vegetables through community gardens and a farmers’ market for an underserved urban community, while offering job training and education with a focus on meeting environmental challenges.
What would an economy look like if it prioritized boosting community wealth, rebuilding community life, upholding social justice and harmonizing with environment over pursuit of profit? Today, many cities fully embrace redevelopment as a strategy to revitalize whole districts, as we are witnessing in old manufacturing centers such as Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Even smaller cities such as Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, are getting in on the action. Instead of greenfields, brownfields and their classic, historic architecture, their raw industrial grit, are back in vogue. Redevelopment, renewal and adaptive reuse are no longer buzzwords, but well-established strategies with an impressive track record. https://www.greenbiz.com/article/4-techniques-catalyze-sustainable-small-town-redevelopment