A terrific thing happened in Warwick over the past several months and it shouldn’t pass unnoticed.
As many of your readers know, at the end of June, Warwick was awarded a fruit tree orchard in the national competition sponsored by the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and The Dreyer’s Foundation. A total of 20 orchards were up for grabs with 131 communities competing, representing virtually every state with Warwick pitted against big cities like Chicago and mid-sized cities like New Haven.
The competition was essentially a nationwide ballot - the polling booth being your computer and results showing up instantaneously on the Internet. Since people could vote once a day, the key to success was getting people aware of the competition and sufficiently committed that they would vote every day.
In other words, the competition was “rigged” to favor communities with great community spirit.
In the end, as the cliche goes, it was not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
Warwick passed that test with flying colors!
While the orchard campaign was initiated and coordinated by Sustainable Warwick - and we feel great about that - special recognition and thanks are due to School Superintendent Ray Bryant and business owners Bonni Oswald and Inez Freund for their tireless e-mail exhortations to get out the vote. As it turned out, the voting was so close at the June 30th deadline - only about a 200-vote margin out of 26,000 - that it’s safe to say that without their efforts, I wouldn’t be writing this letter.
So to everyone who voted, even if it was only a few times, know that your votes made the difference and feel good that you helped Warwick win a wonderful victory.
The 48-tree orchard, by the way, will be located at the Warwick Community Center near the Community Garden. Sometime in September -October, several trucks will roll into town with the trees, the planting equipment, a supervisory crew and even a film crew.
On that day - to be announced shortly - the Dreyer’s people have said that they will need 20 volunteers, but are hoping for 40 to 100.
I recently e-mailed them: “This is Warwick - not a problem.”
Geoff Howard
Chair, Sustainable Warwick