Today, I am going local with my blog post.
Last summer I helped man the master gardener desk at the South Windsor Farmer’s Market and folks often mentioned Andy Paterna’s tireless energy on behalf of this Alliance.
I had the privilege the other day of interviewing Andy Paterna, a driving force for the South Windsor Food Alliance (SWFA): Healthy Food System Project.
The SWFA is a grassroots alliance between local residents that supports local farming and related farming ventures. They have a vision that any community can adopt, one that can support our farmers, provide education to our communities including schools. We, the community, benefit enormously.
Their purpose includes: “increase awareness regarding the health benefits of residents eating locally grown foods and to make the connection between where our food comes from and the local farms that have been an important link in the town’s history.”
What is their vision?
It has four parts much like the medicine wheel I write about.
- Economic viability for small-scale farmers and food producers.
- Based on sustainable farming practices.
- Provide healthy-locally grown food for residents.
- Develop a circular system: planting seeds > grows vegetables > waste > yields compost.
To this I would add that compost creates sustainable soil, better water absorption that deters water runoff, and ultimately cleans the air. This vision backed by community support, ensures our children will have land and food, health and agricultural understanding for generations to come.hey work with the town’s Park and Recreation department and the local agricultural land preservation advisory committee. Their outreach is extensive too. SWFA has established a farmer’s and artisan market, seek to develop schoolyard gardens, and a green rooftop project.
Eventually they hope to establish a food co-op and food hub for their area along with an Agricultural Arts and Nature Center.
These goals are in operation. The Farmers Market is a mecca for local and fresh produce, music and crafts, grows and shifts with community need. The Farm Museum and Coop are in the development stages. Through various agency cooperative efforts a local farm, fallow for twenty years, is being revived.
Exciting isn’t it. It is with one community’s efforts and vision at a time that we are making a difference in food production. Their plan is to promote sustainable agricultural practices that move us away from GMO seed and mono crop farming.
Sustainability means: a development which seeks to produce sustainable growth while ensuring future generations ability to do the same by not exceeding the regenerative capacity of their nature.
My Native American elders repeated over and over that what we do affects the next seven generations. Today is the day to act. I will be speaking on Medicinal Herbs for the Alliance in May and hopefully be presenting at the Farmer’s Market as well as promoting my book: At the Garden’s Gate. All classes are and will be posted on my website.
What is your vision for your home and community? As always all comments are appreciated.
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. © all rights reserved. Including photos.