The Edible Forest Garden Demonstration Project sets up public models for citizens to remove their lawns and replace them with and edible forest gardens and to learn how to lessen their carbon footprint by eating locally grown food (the average food is trucked 1500 miles to get to our table).
Starting at schools (k-12), and front yards on main streets, we are putting in these forest gardens and educating students and citizens about what a forest garden is and how it helps our environment.
We are working with Neighborhood Associations to get Edible Forest Gardens planted in each neighborhood at homes, so that other people in the neighborhood can see that they too can to this.
The Sustainable Community Round table will map the forest gardens each year so that over time this will indicate a level of sustainability in the urban area.
Using olympia as a model city we are doing workshops in other community's in our bio-regions, such as Bellingham and Port Townsend, to help them launch an Edible Forest Garden Project in their community.
Once established, a forest garden is not tilled, by not tilling the earth, the soils are able to hold carbon in them as the plants breathe carbon dioxide in, and breathe out fresh clean air for us to breath. This method of gardening is also known as ‘Permaculture’.
Once the garden starts to mature, the trees (apple, pear, kiwi, almond, etc.) will pull up water and nutrients from the soil with their deep tap roots in the hot summer.
The ground covers (Good King Henry, parsley, asparagus, arugula, etc.) will start to come up in the late winter and absorb what sun they need, and they do fine with ‘dappled’ shade in the summer as the larger plants start to grow leaves.
The shrubs (blueberry, red currents, green tea, raspberry, etc.) will start to grow their leaves in the early spring and can handle growing in the shade of the trees above them.
Once planted a forest garden is self fertilizing, self weeding, self watering, self sustainable, like an old growth forest. This is not only a good option to cut down CO2 in the atmosphere, but it will also provide fresh organic produce in our back (or front) yards.
Growing our food in our own back yard means that large forests needed for carbon storage, wildlife, and water, are not cut down to make way for large scale agriculture.
The lawns we are replacing have little carbon-fixing ability and people ride over them week after week with mowers - for every gallon of fuel burned, there is more than twenty-five pounds of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. Forest gardens reverse this trend, moving the local community toward a sustainable future.
See our front page article in our local newspaper at http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/244686.html and the CBC French TV report that went all across Canada and the world. Go to: http://www.radio-canada.ca/actualite/v2/tj22h/
Click on the calendar at the left on November 15th 2007 and forward the video to 29:17 minutes for the program "Gestes verts pour planete en danger."