The Hampshire Council of Governments (Council) is teaming up with Help Yourself to transform the Old Courthouse lawn into an 'edible landscape' accessible to the public. Help Yourself is a Northampton non-profit organization of volunteers who sow a variety of edible plants in public places. Their mission is to transform communal spaces into a bountiful edible landscape.
Council Executive Director Todd Ford commented:
“The Old Courthouse grounds have long been the front yard of Northampton. We are excited to blend the traditional lawn with
an appealing visual landscape that will also offer an array of edible foods for tourists and residents.”
Inspired by the 'Incredible Edible' project in the United Kingdom, Help Yourself has planted hundreds of fruit trees and perennials at dozens of locations throughout the area including public schools, rail trails, and community gardens.
These projects offer a source of fresh and free food to the public to harvest while building excitement around a local food movement.
The Old Courthouse is part of the downtown Northampton Historic District and is slated for a $4 million renovation that will ensure the structure and grounds remain the most prominent structure in the downtown.
“The edible landscape will compliment the stately grounds and historic fountain while offering a bounty of edible foods and continuing our mission for a fun, safe, and active front yard” Ford said.
The Council and Help Yourself are reaching out to the public to join them at the Old Courthouse in downtown Northampton for Community Planting Day, the first of four community planting days. The event will be held on Sunday, May 25, from 1-4 pm. Volunteers can help prepare the soil and plant a number of fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs and flowers. Volunteers will be provided with all of the necessary tools.
For more information and to get involved, visit www.helpyourselfedibles.org.
For more information on the Council please visit www.hampshirecog.org