BY JIM AUSTIN
THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
A grassroots movement is sprouting in Cooperstown. More correctly, it’s a veggieroots movement suggested Rebecca Weil, one of the members of the Growing Community steering committee.
She and the other members of the committee Sarah White, Emily Riesenfeld, Kristen Leonard, Ellen Pope and Kristen Griger are planning a meeting next week to introduce more people to Growing Community a group of people committed to growing food locally, sharing knowledge, eating healthily, and through these three things, building community.
Weil said the group was inspired by Roger Doiron’s Kitchen Garden International movement and the Incredible Edible Village of Todmorden, England. Growing Community was first introduced at the Cooperstown Kid Garden Festival in May and now members of the steering committee hope to inspire moreneighbors to try their hand at growing food at home, and to share the harvest with friends, neighbors, and area food banks.
“We want to broaden it. We want to get as many people involved as want to,” Weil said. “We want to hear what people want to do.”
It could include individual plants tucked into flwoer beds, backyard gardens similar to the Victory gardens of the past or creating a community garden where those who don’t have the space could still grow fresh vegetables. Growing community is also about sharing work, knowledge, experience and resources with friends and neighbors. Working together is a good way toshare with others how to grow things, Weil said.
“It definitely builds community,” said Griger.
“Some people aren’t sure how to get started. It can be overwhelming. They think there is too much to learn.” she said. “Start with what you like to eat. If you enjoy eating it, it will be fun to grow,” Weil said, adding that one friend started a garden this spring and is only growing carrots and beets.
“Start small,” Griger said. “It’s not too late. There’s always crops you can put in.” The committee will be looking to identify people or groups with different resources related to gardening. Weil said she thinks a lot of people are not aware of how many resources there are in the community.
The committee is working on a website and hopes to have canning workshops later in the year so people will be able to preserve their vegetables.
Weil has been gardening all her life and said there are many advantages to home gardening.
“You couldn’t get fresher food than what you grew right out your kitchen door,” she said. “It’s good for kids, it’s creative, fun, relaxing and it’s being more connected to your food,” she said. A garden also produces feelings of hope, Weil said.
“It’s so hopeful when a seed sprouts. Everything is possible,” she said The Growing Community meeting will be held at Carefree Gardens’ Origins Café, 558 Beaver Meadow Road. Homegrown goodies will be provided and light refreshments will be available at the Café.
Harvest Share boxes, handcrafted by Hanford Mills Museum and painted with the Growing Community logo, will be available for purchase as well. Growing Community gardeners can put excess garden bounty in the boxes on their doorsteps for neighbors to help themselves.
To learn more or to share your own expertise, go to the meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27.