Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford focus on local food sustainability

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Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford is focusing their efforts on sustainable food production during the summer months. Group leader, Michèle Andrews, says they have continued to support the Merrickville Emergency Food Cupboard at the Health Centre by rallying volunteers and donors. In the last two months, the community has raised thousands of dollars, nearly 5,000 pounds of food, and created a list of volunteers to help Community Health Worker, Joanne McIntyre, who coordinates the Food Cupboard. In May, Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford was also able to procure a collection of plant starts, seeds, soil, and pots, which they donated to Food Cupboard clients. “That went over really well too,” Michèle says.

Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford has also fully launched their Grow-A-Row campaign, which is a national initiative that encourages people to grow fresh produce in their gardens and donate a portion of the harvest to assist in feeding the hungry in their community. Several other local community groups have already committed to participating in the campaign, including the Merrickville Artists Guild (MAG), Theatre Night in Merrickville, the Merrickville and District Chamber of Commerce, and the MAD Gardeners. MAG has arranged to plant one of the Lions Club garden plots, with all the harvest going to the Merrickville Food Cupboard, and Mayor Doug Struthers has committed to participating in the campaign with his own home garden.

“I am hoping we will get some people to do some fun things on Facebook, sharing photos and stories of what they are doing to grow a row,” Michèle says.

Michele works for Maitland Tower, just south of Merrickville, who has also signed on to the campaign. They just finished planting over 2,000 square feet of new garden beds, and will be donating all the harvest to local food banks and other organizations supporting those who are experiencing food insecurity.

Sustainable Merrickville-Woflord’s hope is that the Grow-a-Row campaign will get people talking about food security, local food, and food sustainability. “I would love to think that we could define our ‘new nor- mal’ to include people helping each other have access to local healthy food,” Michèle says. “I am hoping to get a little attention on this at the county level.”

For more information about Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford and how you can help the community move towards a sustainable future, visit their new website www.sustainablemw.org.

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