Local produce, mindfulness and community are the push behind this year’s Woolwich Healthy Communities initiative.

In 2017, the group has decided to spread events out over a full season, running from April to June. There are quite a few new events on the Woolwich Healthy Communities calendar.

Starting with Community Clean-up Day on Apr. 22, committee member Inga Rinne believes giving the public more events to participate in only increases the benefits. The committee is trying to cover many different aspects of health with the series of events.

“Part of this is about getting people who might not otherwise be involved, to be involved,” she said. “Healthy Communities has always been about a broad definition of health. A lot of this isn’t just about getting good physical health, but about that connectedness. Whether it is singing in a choir is your thing, or if not, maybe planting trees is, or maybe going for a walk, or eating – well, eating is everyone’s thing. We want to have something for everyone. We want to cover social, environmental, physical and economic health for everyone in Woolwich.”

One of the new events is a nature therapy hike. Along with the annual bird watching hike, on May 16, a certified nature therapy guide will be encouraging hikers to look at nature in a different way. Woolwich Healthy Communities is also hosting a family hike on June 24.

“She takes people out and really reintroduces people to the health benefits of the outdoors. In Japan, they call it forest bathing,” said Rinne. “There is all kind of research about how just getting out into a forest reduces your blood pressure, reduces your heart rate and all sorts of physiological things they have measured.”

Woolwich Healthy Communities is partnering with the Elmira Farmers’ Market for the 11th annual Taste of Woolwich on June 17. The event is usually held in April, but Rinne says they were looking for a change.

Woolwich Healthy Communities month starts this weekend. The many different events include tree-planting excursions planned for April and May. [File Photo]

“It is all about introducing people to local producers and supporting local producers. The farmers’ market doesn’t start until the middle of June and it has the advantage of the fresh produce right in Elmira. The market is a bit of a secret,” she said. “After ten years, you need to change it up a bit, so we thought first of a change in venue, and we wanted to be outdoors.”

The Cooking Ladies will be joining the event, demonstrating different techniques for grilling veggies and smoking meats.

On Apr. 29, Trees for Woolwich will be planting, and this year, will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, inviting new Canadians to join in. They will also be planting near Breslau on May 6. The Woolwich Green Waterways Group will be planting trees on Apr. 25 and 26 in Elmira.

The annual Community Can Dine event has been combined with the Local Vocals and BBM Band concert on May 12.

For a full schedule of Woolwich Healthy Communities events and registration information, visit www.healthywoolwich.org.

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