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Cultural Events

Holiday Weekend Walk Planned At Fruit Trail



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On Sunday, November 27, stepping off at noon, a guided tour will be offered along the eco-friendly food forest that lines part of The Newtown Fruit Trail.

The trail lines part of the Fairfield Hills campus trail system along Mile Hill Road South with a variety of native, low-maintenance, edible fruit trees and plants. The tour will be guided by Andrew Mangold, a Newtown native who designed and installed the fruit trail in 2016.

Free donuts and apple cider will be provided courtesy of CarbonCrowd, a start-up founded by Henry Sims, another Newtown native. CarbonCrowd is focused on unlocking carbon financing for residential carbon emission projects, which would allow people to get funding for their own food forest, right in their backyard.

“Andrew and I met at Newtown High School, where we graduated in 2009,” Sims told The Newtown Bee. “We both went in separate directions, only to find ourselves coincidentally working on different halves of the same puzzle in 2022. Andrew was in the field installing permaculture systems with his business Paradise Gardens, while I was serendipitously working on carbon finance infrastructure for those exact types of projects.”

For those who are unfamiliar, Sims explains, permaculture systems are a highly efficient and productive form of agriculture that emulates the synergistic relations that exist in natural systems, using native species and systems thinking. Each plant serves a particular function, with every species playing a role to support the whole system.

For example, low growing plants suppress weeds and retain moisture, while deep rooting plants can draw up nutrients that shallow rooted plants can access. Some plants actually fertilize the soil by fixating nitrogen naturally, while others might attract beneficial pollinators, or beneficial insects and animals that may attack and ward off harmful pests.

“And of course, you cannot forget the fruit-bearing plants, which provide organic and natural produce, and are the highlight of the fruit trail,” he added.

And because the plants are native, they are naturally adapted to local climate conditions and don’t require watering, or much maintenance at all.

“With Andrew’s experience and skill, we hope to bring similar gardens to dozens, if not hundreds of Newtown residents,” Sims said.

Locals who enjoy the fruit trail can reap the benefits of these permaculture-style gardens year round, whether it be in fruit, foliage, or knowledge. And while it may be too late to harvest most of the delicious fruit that lines the trail, Sims says it’s never too late to learn about New England’s native fruit species or catch up with fellow Newtown residents home for the holiday weekend.

“Come join us on our walk, and learn about all of the interesting native fruits you’ve never heard of, like the delicious tropical PawPaw, which grows naturally in the region, yet is virtually unknown,” he said.

Reservations are not needed. The event is rain or shine; Sims suggests dressing for the weather if it is at all inclement.

Those planning to join the guided walk should meet on the trail near The Victory Garden.

Anyone interested but unable to attend in person is invited to send an e-mail to hello@carboncrowd.com to learn more about native plants, the company, or to sign up to receive potential funding for a backyard food forest.

Andrew Mangold, center, is pictured with two unidentified volunteers on the Newtown Fruit Trail. Mangold and another Newtown resident Henry Sims are hosting an educational walk on the trail on Sunday, November 27 at noon, which will include information about raising and maintaining tropical PawPaw or Carica papaya (pictured), a vitamin- and mineral-packed fruit that can grow in the northeast region year-round. —contributed file photos
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