Drumlin farm yes, Novation no!
Excellent article by Vikki Kratz ("Losing the Farm," 1/23/09)!
As a homeowner in the Southdale neighborhood. The Alexander Co. has provided virtually no information to my household about its development plans. All I know (of substance) has been gleaned from those pesky farmers, gardeners and area residents who don't want to surrender the neighborhood's only source for fresh food and community engagement.
Alexander has shredded our oldest community trees, burned down our housing stock, disrupted wildlife, destroyed the landscape, filled in a pond. Is asking to preserve the one true community asset, Drumlin farm and the community garden, really so out of line?
I attended the election-night meeting in Fitchburg where a diverse parade of residents tried to register their support for the Drumlin farm. They were treated with discourtesy, impatience and thinly disguised disdain. It was revolting.
Let's not pretend this has ever been a fair fight, or even an adequate community conversation.
Andrea Potter, Fitchburg
Thank you for getting word out about the struggle over Drumlin farm. In addition to the 30-plus families who garden the land in Southdale, there are swaths of folks who have benefited from the Drumlin community.
From cultural events to potluck dinners, Drumlin is more than just a few acres of fertile topsoil - it's an extended family.
The newly formed Friends of Drumlin support group meets on Mondays on the east side, welcoming those who want to preserve this successful project.
I was at the Dec. 2 Fitchburg Plan Commission meeting and saw the overwhelming support voiced for preserving the farm. The wording of the Southdale Neighborhood Plan was amended to acknowledge the importance of Drumlin farm and the benefit it provides the community. I was heartened to see local officials responding to concerns of residents and showing a glimmer of ecological vision. Now it appears to have been nothing but a sham.
Local politicians depend heavily on campaign donations from developers, landlords, Realtors and builders. They return the favors with TIF funding and zoning clearances, unconcerned about displaced residents and small businesses, or cooperative enterprises like Drumlin farm.
It would have been better for local officials to stop the Novation Campus. In the future, having experienced and successful organic farmers will be important for a sustainable socioeconomic system. It will certainly be more vital than having another car dealership.
Thanks for your recent cover article about the struggle to preserve Drumlin Community Gardens. I had followed this issue for a while, but even I learned new things from Vikki Kratz's reporting. Readers can learn of unfolding developments at drumlingarden.org.
Seth Tristan Jensen
Joe Alexander and the Novation Campus have an opportunity to partner with gardeners from the surrounding community. This would put the project at the cutting edge of joint public-private wellness ventures.
The state's Division of Public Health provides resources to corporations on how to meet Worksite Wellness goals. One suggestion is an on-site garden, which gives employees the opportunity to get some exercise and grow produce.
Novation should rethink the location of the building planned to replace the current gardens. Then the project and Southdale residents can compete to grow the biggest pumpkin!
Syrup booster replies
Your Jan. 30 article ("The Sweetest Taboo") may mislead consumers about high-fructose corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup is nutritionally the same as sugar and several fruit juices It has the same number of calories as sugar and is handled similarly by the body.
The American Medical Association in June 2008 helped put to rest misunderstandings about this sweetener and obesity, stating that "high-fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners."
Even former critics of high-fructose corn syrup distance themselves from earlier speculation about the sweetener's link to obesity.
In 1983, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally listed high-fructose corn syrup as safe for use in food and reaffirmed that decision in 1996.
Audrae Erickson, president, Corn Refiners Association, Washington, D.C.
The deal with the art
I am a director on the board of the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople, whose name was incorrectly stated in your article ("Dark Clouds," 1/23/09). Our publicist's quotes may have given an incorrect impression about the art fairs we present.
The last Winter Art Festival had a number of artists who did quite well. The majority had decent sales, while a minority may not have. This is far from the grim impression that the reader might have taken away from the article.
Loved Ingrid Rockwell's story about her family's waffle tradition ("Waffle Sunday," 1/30/09). We are regular customers of Ingrid's Lunch Box and are happy to see her getting the recognition she deserves. More, please!
Roch and Kristi Gersbach