TOM WARD – 100 tons of kindness

TOM WARD – 100 tons of kindness

Like a seed when it’s put in the ground and cared for, Cumberland’s Franklin Farm has grown and thrived, thanks to the devotion of a group of volunteers who have tended the earth for more than a decade now. From turning the soil to planting seeds, checking on irrigation or watching for pests, and finally, to gathering the summer bounty, they work. This year, more than 500 volunteers will also pitch in. Now in its “Lucky 13th” summer, last week the farm celebrated sending the 100th ton of fresh produce – that’s 200,000 pounds in all – to the R.I. Community Food Bank, as well as local pantries. What an accomplishment!

I’m also proud of the small role my Cumberland-Lincoln Rotary Club plays in the effort, having years ago donated to provide the irrigation system which brought much higher yields to the land. Picking nights – Mondays and Thursdays – are always a pleasure. I hope I can help more in my coming retirement.

I should also mention the educational component of the farm, where school children are brought each spring and summer to learn about the land and its stewardship.

I admit I’ve grown weary of people in Congress, or up at the Statehouse, or others, who go on about “helping others.” The real work is here, at Franklin Farm, out of the limelight. Congratulations and a hat tip go to Denise and Rob Mudge, Pam and Chip Thurlow, Julie Guerin, Carrie Almon, Frank Matta, and others on the board who toil on the farm year-round. (I’ll also thank Rep. Mia Ackerman, who both advocates at the Statehouse for the less fortunate and gets her hands dirty at the farm regularly. She’s walking the walk!)

May the blessings of Franklin Farm continue for generations to come. Well done, one and all!

Five years?

Is the R.I. Department of Transportation serious? They’re asking for five more years before they get to the repaving of Route 146, from I-295 to the 146-146A split (West Acres Interchange)? Wow, that’s some wait. Last year, it was so potholed that the owner of Ski Shop Plus was making fun of road conditions on his sign! He’s in the area not far from Anchor Subaru/Nissan and the Rustic Drive-In.

I suppose the state is in a pickle. They have to fix bridges first, according to federal law, and you have to admit, they’re doing that at a pretty good clip. So roads come second. But we have to wait five more years to fix the mess on 146 near Sayles Hill Road? That’s way too long.

Go Twins!

It feels like we can wave goodbye to the Red Sox and move on to the New England Patriots this year, now that Tom Brady has a new contract (not that anyone was worried about him moving on to another team …) Go Patriots!

Oh … and Go Minnesota Twins, and rookie manager Rocco Baldelli, the Woonsocket/Cumberland/Hendricken baseball star. Still only 37, Baldelli is shining bright and his Twins are only slightly behind the Yankees and Astros in their winning percentage (as of Sunday). What a year! How great would it be to see Baldelli win the World Series in his first year? It’s been done, right? Ask Alex Cora.

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze.