Growing enthusiasm about a unique greening project in downtown Trail will have business owners nurturing edible gardens instead of seasonal flowers in storefronts this summer.
The “Explore Our IncrEDIBLE Trail” initiative officially took root last week after Trail council green-lighted representatives from Communities in Bloom (CiB) and 32 downtown businesses to move ahead with an edible landscape idea.
The concept was inspired by an English market town called Todmorden, whose merchants decided to grow produce and herbs in front of their stores and welcome passersby to pick and eat the bounty for free.
“Using clean soil in combination with the best growing climate in the Kootenays, Trail’s EDIBLE landscape changes daily,” explained Gina Ironmonger, a long-time downtown business owner and CiB member.
“Sharing gardens will welcome visitors and citizens to explore our downtown and celebrate local agriculture.”
Trail’s IncrEDIBLE Green Route describes the CiB committee’s vision of vine-ripened tomatoes, crunchy peppers or fragrant basil flourishing in planters that will line downtown streets this year.
Each business will be responsible for its own edible garden planter and all vegetables, herbs or fruit grown will be free of charge to anyone who may have an inkling to pick and eat fresh produce. Additionally, local food banks will have the opportunity to add fresh ingredients to their menus because any unpicked food will be donated to their cause.
“It has been amazing speaking with the businesses,” said Ironmonger.
“You hardly get two sentences out of your mouth and they want to dig in and help in ways that they can. It seems as if people instinctively know that this is the right thing to do.”
Besides growing healthy food for the community, the group has goals to promote interaction between young and old; teach people to grow and harvest food and to support regional agriculture and business.
“This initiative will be a way to savour Trail from a different perspective,” said Ironmonger. “On a more serious side the concepts are sustainability and food security.”
Although the project is just getting off the ground, businesses are already planning on cooking up activities to include children.
“We have so much knowledge in this community,” Ironmonger explained. “Gardens are still being sowed and harvested from seed brought over from their country of origin.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to pass that knowledge from seed saving to growing to harvesting to storing of food to the younger generation.”