Author: Holly Marcus
Bundled in a heavy coat, a woman sits in a picnic shelter at Hillandale Park. Five large, healthy cats dine on plates of cat food scattered around her. She and several other caretakers come twice a day to feed these “homeless” cats, as she calls them. She doesn’t want to be identified; she’s been hassled over the years for doing this.
Part of Quakers’ beliefs include stewardship and – upon listening to the divine within themselves and others – the group began to feel a need to do something about climate destabilization. In 2014, they put out a statement to invite other religious groups and communities to make an effort toward reducing their carbon footprint on the environment. Having already done an energy audit on their meeting house, one member said, “Are we going to put our money where our mouth is?”
Rummaging through a bright yellow bucket filled with kale scraps, orange rinds and coffee grounds, Nidhi Vinod gives the go-ahead to dump the contents into a compost bin tucked into a corner of the parking lot by the Turner Pavilion downtown. She hands the bucket to Amelia Morrison who cleans it and places it back on the trailer which is attached to a bicycle. They grab the next bucket and check it for non-compostable items before adding it to the mix of kitchen scraps, fruit peelings, bio plastics and paper napkins.
“Residentially impaired” is how Dylan Thompson describes his living situation at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. The church rotates with 15 other places of worship in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County that take in homeless guests as part of Open Doors.
The 9th edition of Harrisonburg’s “film festival unlike any other” opened downtown. Beginning at 7pm tonight, 15 more three-minute films shot on classic Super 8 film will premiere at the 2019 festival’s second and final evening.
You hear about the local food movement and buy fresh buy local, but can you put a figure on the local food economy in our area? Nearly all of the restaurants in downtown Harrisonburg source locally grown food for ingredients on their menus. Harrisonburg City Schools have a $100,000 budget for locally purchased foods for school meals that come from within 100 miles of the city. Andrea Early, executive director of school nutrition for Harrisonburg’s schools, says that serving local foods helps kids make that connection between the food and who grows it. She hopes that by educating kids about healthy eating they will make healthier choices as adults.