COMMUNITY HEALTH THE FOCUS OF WEEKEND EVENTS
WHAT WAS WOOLWICH HEALTHY Communities Month has expanded in the last few years, with events rolling past April into May and June. It’s a good sign that people are interested in activities that make the township a better place to live, both as organizers and participants.
Most readily linked to Earth Day (April 22), the Woolwich Healthy Communities events are anchored by an environmental focus. Saturday, for instance, will find volunteers fanning out across the township as part of the community cleanup day, though calling it a spring cleaning might be a little optimistic given the weather of late.
Next week, The Woolwich Clean Waterways Group will be out at a Balsam Road site April 24 and 25. Next month, there’ll be opportunities for residents to plant trees, with Trees for Woolwich events scheduled for May 5 in Breslau and May 26 in Elmira.
Those events are very much in the vein of hands-on improvements to the environment where we live. Cleaning up after the mess left behind by others – an inescapable part of our society, it seems – and planting trees for future generations offer very visible outcomes.
Tree planting, in particular, has become a signature activity in the township, spearheaded by the work of Trees for Woolwich. Decidedly low-tech in comparison to the technological fixes being used to combat climate change – think of alternatives to fossil fuels such as solar electric power – planting trees remains the most affordable and accessible way to deal with the problem, the group maintains. It also comes with a host of benefits, including the greening of our communities and the addition of wildlife habitat, not to mention the social aspects of bringing neighbours together to work on a common project.
On the healthy front, Woolwich Healthy Communities also lead a number of hiking and cycling events, taking advantages of an extensive network of trails and some idyllic rural routes.
One of the most high-profile activities is A Taste of Woolwich, set this year for June 23. Through it, organizers hit on a range of issues at play for a healthier and more sustainable future, as food comes with economic, health and environmental impacts. Generally, the more local the food, the better the outcomes on all fronts.
The goal of the event is to showcase what’s available locally, to demonstrate how incorporating local food into our diets needn’t be a chore and to have some fun doing it.
From a marketplace through to cooking demonstrations, the emphasis will be on what local food can do for you. While it’s early yet for local produce, except for greenhouse operations such as Floralane Produce, there are meats, grains and dairy products available year-round.
The more educated people are about the benefits of local food, they more likely they are to pay a bit more for it, say proponents of the local-food movement.
For most urban dwellers, food is something found on store shelves – how it got there is the same kind of mystery behind the lights turning on when they flick a switch. In Woolwich and Wellesley townships, straddling the divide between rural and urban, agriculture remains an everyday part of life. Events such as A Taste of Woolwich let everyone get a closer look at that reality.
In the meantime, lending a hand with the organization’s events that kick off this weekend is a fine exercise in community building.