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Public Food Forests around Victoria BC

 
Dillon Nichols
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I collected this information for another thread, and thought it deserved to have its own. If you know of any additional sites/links/info that I'm missing, please chime in!

Several public food forests and community orchards exist around Victoria; most seem to have been grown out of impetus from folks in the neighborhood, following some organizing force appearing on the scene. A possibly incomplete list:

1) Spring Ridge Commons in Fernwood is a food forest on an old schoolbus parking-lot. It's the oldest of this list by quite a bit at ~16 years, and has some sizable mulberries, figs, a strawberry arbutus tree, guomi bushes, etc. http://springridge.rd123.ca/

2) The Fernwood community centre down the road has a kitchen garden and a small community orchard. http://fernwoodnrg.ca/fernwood-nrg-programs/urban-sustainability/fernwood-community-orchard/

3) A permaculture based community orchard has been started in Fairfield: http://fairfieldcommunitygardens.blogspot.ca/
Here is a good QA post that among other things lists some of the steps taken to create this place. http://fairfieldcommunitygardens.blogspot.ca/2012/08/fairfield-community-gardens-questions.html

4) Banfield Community Orchard in Vic West: http://www.hatchetnseed.ca/banfield-park-community/
http://crdcommunitygreenmap.ca/story/banfield-community-orchard-community-project-bears-fruit-vic-west

Some info about how the above 2 are structured is available here: http://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/community/sustainability/social/urban_food_production/community-orchards.html

5) Welland Legacy Orchard in View Royal is a bit different; as the name implies, it was bequeathed to the town of View Royal by Rex Welland on his death; originally it was his private orchard, and it has an interesting mix of species; grapes, kiwis, fruit trees, some 200 in total, including rare apple cultivars. Lots of mason/miner bee boxes.

The site has been publicly owned for about 5 years, and it looks like things are beginning to come together; lifecycles(http://lifecyclesproject.ca) is now managing the site for View Royal, but more volunteers at the work parties would definitely be a good thing! http://wellandlegacypark.tumblr.com/

6) A community garden on Wark St. looks like it was modeled on a food forest. Not a lot of info online: http://crdcommunitygreenmap.ca/location/wark-street-garden

7) There is a boulevard garden/permaculture orchard at Haultain Common: http://crdcommunitygreenmap.ca/location/haultain-common
This one seems to have gotten a boost, and official acceptance of the practice, when a lawyer got interested: http://fernwoodnrg.ca/boulevard-gardening-goes-mainstream/


Outside Victoria:
Cowichan Green Community put in a small food forest on a steep slope behind their office in downtown Duncan last year. I haven't been back since before planting, but hear that it's doing really well. http://cowichangreencommunity.org/project/urban-food-forest/

 
Dale Hodgins
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There's a hugelkultur orchard in Vic West on Craigflower, by the community center.

Edit- I viewed the list in the fine print of a mobile phone. You had this one already.

I wild harvest fruit all over the city. An ad on Used Victoria always turns up apples and plums that would otherwise be wasted.
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Sheldon Nicholson
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I will add my forest garden to the list. It is in the Kent Road Gardens (http://ccaagardens.org/) so anyone can visit it anytime (I give my permission), so I think that qualifies it as "public". It is plot #55. I have put up some informational signs so that visitors have some idea what they are looking at.

Thanks for making the list by the way, I have only seen about half of them... I always learn lots from other permaculturalists gardens!
 
Dillon Nichols
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Sheldon, thanks for adding your site; I'll try and swing by sometime! Do you have a photo thread going? There are a couple sites on the list I still need to visit in person myself...

Dale, it always amazes me how many folks have a fruit tree or two, completely skip maintaining it... and then when it rewards their neglect with a bountiful crop ignore that too! Glad you're rescuing some of it. I don't tend to go searching for apples/plums since my parents' place has an embarrassment of those, but I always love finding sources of less common fruits and nuts to taste-test and propagate from.


I was back at Welland Legacy Orchard today for a workparty. It really is a cool site; even though it is designed as a conventional orchard more than a food forest, it has an great array of species/cultivars. Hopefully they can get some signage and further labeling of cultivars sorted out soon, the potential as an educational site and a source of scionwood/cuttings is huge!

Vaguely related, I found this free e-book documenting interesting trees in Victoria: http://www.urbanecology.ca/documents/Books/UrbanForest.pdf
A couple of the sites on the list are mentioned. A good reminder that I need to head back to Spring Ridge Commons later this year to see if the sweet chestnut tree is alive and producing, since I'd like to try growing some, and can't really see shelling out, so to speak, $45+ per seedling!
 
Sheldon Nicholson
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Hi Dillon,

I do not have a permies thread for my food forest but I do have a pretty active facebook page for it:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sheldons-Mini-Food-Forest/872504422813764

I have a wide variety of unusual plants (130 different species are currently living in my 450 square foot garden) for you to look at and maybe try out.
 
Sheldon Nicholson
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There is another one you might want to add to the list:

The home of Tayler and Solara the owners of Hatchet & Seed.They had and open house last week that I visited. I was blown away: it is probably the most beautiful and well managed permaculture site I've seen! It is in North Saanich. Google it.
 
Sheldon Nicholson
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There is another one you might want to add to the list:

The home of Tayler and Solara the owners of Hatchet & Seed.They had and open house last week that I visited. I was blown away: it is probably the most beautiful and well managed permaculture site I've seen! It is in North Saanich. Google it.
 
Sheldon Nicholson
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One more thing, haha.

If you live in Victoria, or the west coast in general, there is an indespensible resource you should be aware of:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/2029243/West-Coast-Food-Forestry

It has detailed information on almost every edible plant that can grow in our area, I guarantee there are some you have not heard of. And its free!
 
Dillon Nichols
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Hey Sheldon,

Nifty, that's quite the density and diversity you've got going!

Tayler and Solara's place is definitely a great example, I was there early this spring for a workparty. Really great people, and a really neat site. I didn't list it since it didn't quite fit what I meant by 'public', but anyone who gets a chance to visit at an open house or plant sale should definitely do so!

Eco-sense in the Highlands (Ann and Gord Baird's place) is another example of a great private/commercial site, there are still a couple weekend plant sales left I believe. Extremely cool place, on a pretty challenging site.
https://ecosenseliving.wordpress.com/

A third example would be 'Fruit trees and more' in North Saanich (Bob and Verna Duncan), they grows and sell a huge variety of fruit trees with an emphasis on the more tropical stuff. It's more of a high density orchard than a food forest, but notable for the variety of species being grown.
http://www.fruittreesandmore.com/

I agree everyone nearby should check out 'West Coast Food Forestry'; while we're at the north end of the range it covers, it's still more locally targeted than any other food forestry book I've seen. And free is amazing! I do keep hoping that the Bullock brothers will write a book about their site.
 
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