New Vrindaban: Green Wheeling Initiative Gains Momentum
The Green Wheeling Initiative began informally in 2010. Today it’s a grassroots organization comprised of educators, farmers, entrepreneurs, and professionals dedicated to strengthening the local food supply in the Wheeling area.
To date, the initiative has been awarded over $65,000 in grant funding from local and national foundations. This money is being used to create business plans, provide community micro-grants, and to have a positive impact on the growth of the local food supply.
Terry Sheldon is one of the founders of the Green Wheeling Initiative. He’s lived in the New Vrindaban Community in Marshall County since the late 70s and runs and operates the community gardens there. Sheldon says together with Wheeling residents and local organizations, the initiative has taken on a life of its own.
“It seemed that the more low-key we were the more we were over-performing and under-advertising the more attraction we got and the more people became interested,” Sheldon says. “So what’s making it work is the collaborative nature of the initiative.”
Sheldon says he sees great potential in cities like Wheeling to create a sustainable economy with what he calls “green-collared” jobs.
“If you’re going to actually grow food in an urban environment you’re going to need soils that are nutrient-dense. So the biomass from lawn clippings, leaves, grass, biomass that you find in the city’s effort to clean up branches and brambles and what-not, can be made into compost. The delivery of those, the actually teaching of gardening skills to people in neighborhoods—what we want to create is a whole new city center in which the opportunity to grow, market, and prosper economically is jointly conducted by private enterprise, by academia, by the community itself.”
One aspect of the initiative is a series of workshops offered throughout the spring, summer, and fall.