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Has anyone transformed a community garden into a food forest?

 
Emily Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Missouri
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My town has two community gardens. Both only use annual row crops. I've been in contact with my city planner, and the next step is to convince the Master Gardeners who currently care for the plots. If all goes well, then I want to try for seed donations from local nurseries.

Has anyone already accomplished something similar? If so, what advice do you have regarding selling the idea to others and finding help with costs?

I want the food forest to be kid friendly; a refreshing oasis for everyone.

Emily
 
Tyler Ludens
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I did not work on this project, but here's a community garden/playground food forest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cxrWKnvxZU
 
bunkie weir
Posts: 110
Location: eastern washington
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this is a similar idea where they're transforming their park into a food forest...all community oriented...

http://beaconfoodforest.weebly.com/
 
Emily Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Missouri
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Very inspiring videos. Thank you. The only way this is going to work is if I can organize a team like in the beacon clip. Everyone I know is busy with their own families. Maybe highschool/college students would be interested in participating.
Time to think some more.
 
Marcella Rose
Posts: 95
Location: Central Texas, it is dry here.
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I have mentioned the topic a few times at our Community Garden Meetings, but sadly, the answer I get is this, "Organic Gardening and Permaculture are the same thing, we will continue with what we have." I have tried to explain there is more to it, but very seriously, they are not interested.

I really and truly hope that you have far more fortune than I!
 
Emily Anderson
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Location: Missouri
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Marcella, me too! I get this feeling that in fifty years, what we are trying to pull off will be the norm. But I'll be 78 then. So I have to hope that persistence can speed it up a bit. Otherwise, I'll feel like I missed my purpose in life.
 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 202
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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After we finish our house, I want to do this as well for a local community. Look forward to hearing about your progress.
 
David Goodman
gardener
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Location: Zone 9a/8b
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I've been trying to get my fellow Master Gardeners here to consider the idea. They've already given me quite a bit of leeway and find my outsider perspective on agriculture interesting. I may get a chance to work on a demonstration "urban farm" plot in the near future and I'm definitely going to work the food forest angle.

Sometimes it's hard to get a community to go along with things like this. There's a reason we remember great individuals, rather than great teams of people. If you're able to build your own food forest somewhere, then share that with others, inspiration may follow. Groups tend to be conservative in their approach, unless you can really turn on the charm and lead them forward.

I'm hoping that my personal food forest plot later becomes a model for community plots.

Just keep your chin up and keep getting the info out there. Enthusiasm is contagious!. Good luck!
 
Romona Froyet
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Starting to make a food forest from scratch makes more sense than converting it from any other form. But I think there is more need for such transformations to take place as it can become some source of inspiration to create something more or less like it.
 
gani et se
Posts: 215
Location: Douglas County OR
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One of the things I keep reading here is "start small." Are there any fruit trees? Maybe establishing a guild instead of a whole food forest might be the step people need to see to help them expand into permaculture?
Gani
 
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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My niche is not a community garden or park, but a 2-acre piece of mostly bare land on the edge of our little town that I purchased 2 years ago. It is zoned commercial, but I was able to get approval from the town council to start a market garden. It is still in the beginning stages, but last year (the first year we really got much of a harvest) I raised several hundred dollars worth of produce, and even had a few locals come buy veggies. My long-term goal is to put in a few swales and "Kratur-beets" (sunken instead of raised beds, which dry out too quickly here), and start growing fruit trees and berries and other perennial crops, in a more ecological way, with guilds and Dynamic Accumulators and Nitrogen fixers, etc, and eventually be able to serve as a kind of demonstration plot and education center to help others learn about more natural ways of living and being more self-reliant as a community.

We don't have any agriculture or even market gardens here, but I know people who plant gardens and have fruit trees and berries, so it is an interesting challenge for me to pull all these elements into a productive "food forest."
 
Emily Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Missouri
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David Goodman wrote:I've been trying to get my fellow Master Gardeners here to consider the idea. They've already given me quite a bit of leeway and find my outsider perspective on agriculture interesting. I may get a chance to work on a demonstration "urban farm" plot in the near future and I'm definitely going to work the food forest angle.

Sometimes it's hard to get a community to go along with things like this. There's a reason we remember great individuals, rather than great teams of people. If you're able to build your own food forest somewhere, then share that with others, inspiration may follow. Groups tend to be conservative in their approach, unless you can really turn on the charm and lead them forward.

I'm hoping that my personal food forest plot later becomes a model for community plots.

Just keep your chin up and keep getting the info out there. Enthusiasm is contagious!. Good luck!


I think you're right. I may spend this year working out kinks in my growing abilities at my parent's farm. There's a lot to learn. And the solo approach would be much simpler. Thanks for the input!
 
Emily Anderson
Posts: 9
Location: Missouri
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dj niels wrote:My niche is not a community garden or park, but a 2-acre piece of mostly bare land on the edge of our little town that I purchased 2 years ago. It is zoned commercial, but I was able to get approval from the town council to start a market garden. It is still in the beginning stages, but last year (the first year we really got much of a harvest) I raised several hundred dollars worth of produce, and even had a few locals come buy veggies. My long-term goal is to put in a few swales and "Kratur-beets" (sunken instead of raised beds, which dry out too quickly here), and start growing fruit trees and berries and other perennial crops, in a more ecological way, with guilds and Dynamic Accumulators and Nitrogen fixers, etc, and eventually be able to serve as a kind of demonstration plot and education center to help others learn about more natural ways of living and being more self-reliant as a community.

We don't have any agriculture or even market gardens here, but I know people who plant gardens and have fruit trees and berries, so it is an interesting challenge for me to pull all these elements into a productive "food forest."


Wow. You're doing great. It's hard enough here in Missouri to keep everything hydrated. Hmm...I wonder if sunken beds would work here. Our springs are really wet, so I could only use them for plants that like to be wet, or later crops like bush beans, peppers, etc. So far I've been experimenting with woody beds on contour, because a lot of our land is rocky/steep. (And I try to avoid digging.)
 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 202
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Emily Anderson wrote:
dj niels wrote:My niche is not a community garden or park, but a 2-acre piece of mostly bare land on the edge of our little town that I purchased 2 years ago. It is zoned commercial, but I was able to get approval from the town council to start a market garden. It is still in the beginning stages, but last year (the first year we really got much of a harvest) I raised several hundred dollars worth of produce, and even had a few locals come buy veggies. My long-term goal is to put in a few swales and "Kratur-beets" (sunken instead of raised beds, which dry out too quickly here), and start growing fruit trees and berries and other perennial crops, in a more ecological way, with guilds and Dynamic Accumulators and Nitrogen fixers, etc, and eventually be able to serve as a kind of demonstration plot and education center to help others learn about more natural ways of living and being more self-reliant as a community.

We don't have any agriculture or even market gardens here, but I know people who plant gardens and have fruit trees and berries, so it is an interesting challenge for me to pull all these elements into a productive "food forest."


Wow. You're doing great. It's hard enough here in Missouri to keep everything hydrated. Hmm...I wonder if sunken beds would work here. Our springs are really wet, so I could only use them for plants that like to be wet, or later crops like bush beans, peppers, etc. So far I've been experimenting with woody beds on contour, because a lot of our land is rocky/steep. (And I try to avoid digging.)


I'm in Missouri too and we had a heck of a time in the drought and heat last summer. The Hugle beds did great because the logs retain the moisture. they were my best beds.
 
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Thanks, Emily.

I was really pleased last year that most of our new beds (only prepared in the spring) were able to keep growing with only running small sprinklers or soaker hoses every other day, even in a drought year, I think because we had put so much organic matter into each bed to help create a sponge effect.

Some of our beds were dug out 2 feet deep, lined with cardboard to keep water from draining away too quickly, and then filled with wood from storm-dropped branches and old, half-rotten firewood or scrounged lumber, with spoiled hay, straw, leaves, and compost. Other beds were only dug out a foot deep and filled in with "lasagna" layers of organic matter. I think this year I am going to dig those beds deeper and add wood in the bottom.

Once we get these gardens really popping (to use Toby Hemenways term, my son and I hope we can encourage some similar efforts elsewhere in our town/region.
 
Tyler Ludens
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dj niels wrote:

Once we get these gardens really popping (to use Toby Hemenways term, my son and I hope we can encourage some similar efforts elsewhere in our town/region.


This happened quite organically for me, I just showed my neighbors how beautifully my garden was doing in the drought and told them what I had done, and now they are trying buried wood beds in their garden. So, make a beautiful example and people will want to know how you did it!
 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 202
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
dj niels wrote:

Once we get these gardens really popping (to use Toby Hemenways term, my son and I hope we can encourage some similar efforts elsewhere in our town/region.


This happened quite organically for me, I just showed my neighbors how beautifully my garden was doing in the drought and told them what I had done, and now they are trying buried wood beds in their garden. So, make a beautiful example and people will want to know how you did it!


We also had people marvelling at the fact that I had a Jurassic park squash plants in this heat and drought. Those Hugle beds rock at holding the moisture!
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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