“Growing Food” Inspiration is Everywhere-Food Unites Us All

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook 

“Food Unites Us All”

‘Tis the time of year when growers and farmers have their annual gatherings since they aren’t out there tending their fields. My produce /flower catalogs are arriving daily as I peruse and plan what I’ll do differently and better this year in growing my own food. Now is the time to get your growing (and eating) blueprint in order. Get inspired by those innovative success stories.

 Also coming up on February 16 is the 3rd annual TEDxManhattan live webcast “Changing the Way We Eat.” We are encouraged to have viewing parties which sounds like a lot of fun in bringing the community together. It turns out, I voted for the wining local candidate, Farm to Freezer which is a program for preparing gleaned food for the freezer. This food is then used by Bethesda Cares which serves 20,000 meals annually to the homeless.

With the obesity issue in the foreground, large companies and locals are engaging consumers in competitions and cook-offs to taste the healthiest and tastiest from restaurants in our area. This Friday evening The Annapolis Community Health Initiative (ACHI) will host a local screening of THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION, an HBO documentary series addressing the national obesity epidemic while holding the cook-off with some of our restaurant chefs.

That certainly is only the beginning of inspiration! I learned of Todmorden: The Incredible Edible Town 

 For the overview, Pam Warhurst, of  the 16,000 town in West  Yorkshire, England decided it was time to take action with local agriculture. Pam questioned,‘Why don’t I see if we can get the whole of the town of Todmorden—however long it takes—to change its behavior, to think about how we could live differently, get jobs differently, react as a community differently?’ Then I thought, ‘How the heck would we do that?’ I got the idea we should use the language of food.”

 Relating to food, she divided the program into 3 plates: 

 The First Plate The 1st plate encompassed the community where action would be made to plant edibles in front and backyards and plant vegetables and fruit trees in urban community spaces.

 The Second Plate Taking action on skills and education such as tree grafting and canning lessons, raising chickens, foraging for food workshops and cooking classes fill the Second Plate.

 The Third Plate The business model is the highlight of the Third Plate to create and support local jobs by purchasing from local farmers and shopping locally. Agriculture based jobs such as becoming a vegetable grower or a soil scientist are encouraged.

 

No formal membership is required to start growing, but Todmorden residents are encouraged to farm wherever and whenever they can. All the town’s schools and several public and private bodies are engaged in the campaign. Schools now grow food in raised beds and polytunnels and involve students in harvesting and preparation of produce. The local health centre has started an ‘apothecary garden’, and one housing association has launched its own Edible Pennine initiative, offering tenants a free starter pack with seeds and advice.

 Now the world is taking notice of this outstanding example of local agriculture. “All the time we’ve got people from everywhere on the globe giving us a ring, coming to visit us, walking around the town,” Pam said.

 The Stats:

  • 600 fruit trees planted so far – that’s 1 for every 2.5 residents
  • 40 growing sites in the town centre
  • 33% of residents take part in IET activities

Photos courtesy: Incredible Edible

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