Meet Josie Cowgill
Transition Stroud newsletter editor Josephine Murray (JM) talks with Josie (JC), who founded Edible Stroud, and is also involved in other local food and sustainability projects.
JM: What prompted you to set up Edible Stroud?
JC: I founded Edible Stroud in 2012. After years of protesting, signing petitions and raising money for environmental causes I felt the need to do something practical, positive and lasting. Planting trees seemed like a good place to start. Gail Bradbrook suggested Stroud do something along the lines of Incredible Edible Todmorden. I thought it was a good idea and decided to join it when someone else started it. Of course, no one else did, so with some trepidation and no expertise whatsoever, I launched Edible Stroud.
JM: Could you tell us about some of Edible Stroud’s current projects?
JC: Over the years Edible Stroud has planted trees, soft fruits, herbs and flowers in the grounds of the maternity hospital, along the canal, at the Lake at the Lawn, in Stratford Park and a few other neglected pockets of land. The main projects we are working on currently are the Edible Forest Garden in the corner of Stratford Court Playing Fields and the raised beds next to Platform 1 at Stroud Train Station.
The Edible Forest Garden provides a habitat for wildlife as well as providing food for humans in the form of fruit, nuts and herbs. It is also a place where people can come together to garden, share ideas, learn from each other and enjoy the wildlife. The beds at the station are a way of showing people what can be grown in a small space.
JM: What future plans does Edible Stroud have?
JC: We will carry on tending the plots we have. I will fully support anyone who wants to take on a piece of neglected land in their neighbourhood.
JM: Could you tell us about your working life?
JC: All my work seems to relate to food one way or another. I’m a cook and a writer/researcher about food and health. I also run the Trinity Rooms Community Hub. Part of our work involves collecting up the surplus food from the farmer’s market and supermarkets and distributing it to individuals in need and to the other food hubs in Stroud. This helps to reduce food inequality and food waste.
JM: Could you tell us about any other sustainability initiatives you’re involved with?
JC: I’m part of Stroud Seed Saving Group, the Landwise Network and the food hubs as mentioned above.
JM: How long have you lived in Stroud and what do you like about this area?
JC: I’ve lived here for nearly 16 years. It’s the first place I’ve lived with a really strong sense of community and identity. I love that it is earthy, rebellious, passionate and connected.
JM: What do you do in your spare time?
JC: All of the above. Most of what I do is done on a voluntary basis in what we can laughingly call my spare time. I try and squeeze my paid work in around it as unfortunately I do need to earn a living.
I also love to sing, dance, walk, swim and hang out with my friends.
Find out about more local Stroud Transitioneers
If you would like to share your sustainable living story, please contact Josephine on firstname.lastname@example.org