Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Glasgow Greenway -- An Idea Ripe for the Picking

A few weeks ago Sustainable Glasgow sent a well thought out formal letter to the Mayor and County Judge Executive laying out a proposed master plan for walking/jogging/cycling paths that would form the Glasgow Greenway. As of this morning there has been no formal response to that letter, but I do know that Mayor Pickett is pondering it.

Just a few days ago an article in the Glasgow Daily Times outlined plans for the repaving and re-striping of West Main Street from the Glasgow Square to L. Rogers Wells Blvd. Since that section of West Main is a component of our suggested Glasgow Greenway Master Plan, this is an opportunity to start the years long process of implementing the plan. We need for our local elected officials to immediately interject the master plan into the current plans to rework West Main Street. If this section of roadway is to receive new traffic graphics, this is the time to establish cycling lanes along this route.

While it is true that a set of lanes from the Square to the Bypass along West Main would accomplish little to provide a usable section of Glasgow Greenway, it is a heavily traveled street which would expose many locals to the concept of cycling lanes and would begin the process of teaching folks how to interact with cycling lanes and cyclists. This could easily be done by taking some space away from the vehicle lanes and from the turn lane in the center of the existing roadway. Taking this action would also get us moving on the concept of steering heavy traffic toward major roadways and arterial routes and away from the Square such that pedestrian traffic can be emphasized and cherished in our city center. If the lanes are tighter, it should follow that big vehicles and trucks will seek alternate routes.

If the newspaper article was correct, this work could begin at any time. If we are serious about working for change, improvement, and new thinking in our community; if we are serious about lobbying to get the Glasgow Greenway established, now is the time to contact people you know in local government to get them interested in this project and this opportunity which is being dumped in our lap right now.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

BOTBM 2010 Market Day 1 - Retrospective

The official opening day for 2010 was this morning and it went very well. Perhaps 500 folks, mostly locals, but many from other states, were on hand to share in the bounty of our region and witness what a community can do for itself if it puts its heart and mind into it. Bob and Joanna Harvey christened the new Square Deal Lumber - HVAC Services - BB&T stage by graciously sharing their talents with the folks who attended and about 30 vendors offered to feed us with the products they have produced with the sweat of their brow and the sunshine from Mother Nature. It was a great morning.

Still, we noted several things we can do better and plan to start on those things next week. First, we didn't have anyone there cooking for the attendees and there was not enough there to drink. Next week we hope to remedy that by stepping up to have omelette chefs working with local ingredients available at the market, coffee from the fair trade coffee offered by St. Andrews Church, and other cold drinks offered in recyclable containers.

We also ran into a bit of trouble with our debit card/EBT terminal and hope to have that corrected in two weeks. After that, you will be able to come to the market with no cash and use your debit card on site to acquire tokens which can be spent with any of the vendors at the BOTBM. Also, for anyone who receives government benefits and nutrition support benefits, they will be able to use the EBT cards at the market as well.

For all of you who came this week, thanks, it was a great start, but you really haven't seen anything yet!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bounty of the Barrens Farmers Market Opening Day

For those of us working on making the market a reality, it came a lot faster than we expected, but Saturday, May 29, Bounty of the Barrens Market officially opens for the 2010 season. The music will be back with Bob and Joanna Harvey kicking off the new season and christening our new Square Deal Lumber/HVAC Services/BB&T stage! The produce, local baked goods, local honey, eggs, beef, pork, etc., etc. will be there as well. The white tents will be there. Most importantly, your friends and neighbors, whom you might not have seen since the market ended last year, will be there as well. All we need is for you to be there to make it a happening!

We are proud of the market and how well it has developed in one year, but no one should forget that the market is not the end of Sustainable Glasgow's work, it is only the beginning. We are determined to make our community more self-sufficient and more enjoyable to live our lives in. The market is designed to bring together producers and consumers for commerce. We don't want to just operate a successful farmers market. We want to create a sustainable food economy where more of our local farmers change from commodity crops to food crops that can be counted on to feed our community. We want more local beef and dairy farmers to find ways to sell directly to the people who live here, for a fair market price, instead of selling their products at a loss to distant middle men. We want local restaurants to thrive by purchasing from those farmers and constructing menus from local ingredients instead of the latest convenient fare from a wholesaler's truck. We want local hospitals, nursing homes, and schools to enter into relationships with local producers so that each enjoys the benefits of trade within our local area, such that the dollars remain in the local community and get circulated for the improvement of all local businesses. We believe ownership matters and that owning our own food economy may matter more that just about anything else.

So come and join us this Saturday, and every Saturday through the summer, at Bounty of the Barrens Farmers Market. But, stay with us to push our movement forward toward a community that rediscovers the beauty and peace of living in a place where we invest in ourselves and enjoy the benefits of that investment as we spend our lives in the company of each other.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bounty of the Barrens Pre-Season Continues...May 15

The Bounty of the Barrens Market Preseason continues tomorrow with lots of early season items including.....STRAWBERRIES! And we mean real, local, picked yesterday, strawberries. Not those fake things that look like strawberries and were picked in California a couple of weeks ago while still green. Come on out Saturday morning!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Glasgow Greenway and Bounty of the Barrens Preseason Market Update

First, this link will take you to a draft of the Glasgow Greenway Master Plan that we are proposing for adoption by both City and County governments. Click here and you will open the plan we have developed through our new initiative, Bicycles of the Barrens.

The idea here is to get the local governments to approve this plan to develop a variety of options to establish clearly designated pathways along these routes shown in green. Some of the solutions will be to paint lanes on existing roadways, some will be reconstructed and widened sidewalks, and some of the routes would need to be newly constructed pathways that do not exist at all now (look at the suggested route along South Fork Creek which would connect schools and several parks).

Obviously this network of greenways would not be created quickly, but some segments of the proposed plan would be very simple to establish and we are asking the local governments to start immediately. We are also asking them to begin earmarking at least 5% of their roadway maintenance budgets to the establishment of the Glasgow Greenway. Any opportunity you have to tell an elected official that you support this plan, especially right now as they contemplate budgets for next year, would be a big help!

Also, the Bounty of the Barrens Market Preseason continues this Saturday morning at 8 a.m. to noon. Many of the vendors are showing up for the preseason market. Local crafts, locally baked treats of all manner, locally raised and processed meats, and some early season produce is already available. You can also admire the progress on the new Square Deal Lumber Company stage at Bounty of the Barrens Market! Thanks to Square Deal and some dedicated volunteer carpenters, a great stage will be available for our local musicians this year. Get ready for the Grand Opening of the market on May 29!