Food Forest Installation: Building Community

This past Saturday, May 12, approximately 35 people turned out for a spectacular day-long community workshop led by The Resilience Hub. We installed the school’s first food forest, including edible fruit trees, shrubs and small plants, as well as a 120-foot long living willow fence.

Right now, the trees and plants are small and you mostly see just large sections of wood chips. Within a year or two, however, the saplings will be larger, the small fruit-bearing trees will fill out, and the small plants and ground cover will start to spread and produce fruits.  The living willow fence is comprised of over a hundred  8-inch long willow cuttings which are planted almost completely underground, set at an angle so that when they grow, we can weave them together into a fence and eventually harvest the “whips” for basketry and wattle fences.

Many organizations and people working in collaboration made this all possible:  All of the plants were purchased from local sources, thanks to a $2,000 grant from Whole Kids Foundation. Nearly all of the other materials were donated (Wicked Joe Coffee Chaff, Noah Buehner wood chips, Coast of Maine compost, and cardboard from Maine Shipping & Packaging). The year-long food forest design process, and extensive pre-planning was completely funded by a generous 3-year grant from a donor who saw the wisdom in supporting a collaboration between MCWS and The Resilience Hub. Lastly, much of the labor on Saturday was volunteer, a contribution estimated at $1880, assuming a minimum wage rate.

We are deeply grateful to The Resilience Hub, especially Lisa Fernandes and Heather Foran, and to those at MCWS who guided and led the teams, and others who are helping with the care and watering of the food forest:  Brian Kessler, Melissa Gormley, Barbara Guffin, Lynn Wetterhorn, Lucy Ahearne, Ross and Laura Emerson, Sarah Pierce, Briana Robillard, Suzie Peirson, and the first grade class who are watering the strawberries daily.