MINERVA - With soaring costs of groceries and goods and with natural resources aplenty, Minerva residents are coming together to make the town less dependent on outside resources and hopefully improve the quality of life for locals.
"With all of the space and forests around us it seems that we could provide a lot more for ourselves than we currently do as a society," Planet Minerva Vice President Jen Thule said as she moved brush from the site of the new town community gardens. "In this kind of economy, I think people are considering ways to produce more locally and be less dependent on outside sources - we should provide as much as we can as a community."
Planet Minerva, Inc. was founded this month with the direct intent to build sustainability within the town. Although in its infancy, the not-for-profit organization already has a rigorous agenda.
"We are currently focusing on community gardening, sustainable forestry practices and energy efficiency," Thule said.
According to master forester and Planet Minerva President Dan Wallace sustainable forestry is focused on maintaining the largest or most valuable timber instead of immediately harvesting it for short-term economic gain.
"The idea is to increase the overall timber value over the long-term for the good of the community," Wallace said. "I don't believe in the cutting the best timber - it's counterproductive."
Wallace said that through constant trimming of dead limbs and selective harvesting of weaker individual trees, healthier forests can be created that yield more valuable timber.
"We hope to get to a point where we can employ local residents to assist local property owners with sustainable forestry practices," Planet Minerva Secretary Ruth Robinson said.
But all involved are careful to not get ahead of themselves.
"We are focusing on community gardening right now - can't wait to have this space up and running," Thule said.
Planet Minerva has leased half an acre directly adjacent to the Minerva Town Hall for the garden.
"Anyone who puts some time in to help plant or take care of the beds is welcome to a share of the crops," Thule said. "All it takes is participation - we want to be totally inclusive for all Minerva residents."
Anyone interested in further information about Planet Minerva should visit the website at www.planetminerva.net.