We were happy to get our Food Forest project kicked off this past October with the first phase of planting.
Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust defines a food forest, or a forest garden, as a "three-dimensional garden with useful plants." The plants are chosen so that they interact with one another in a beneficial and sustainable way. Some may produce food that people can eat, or berries and seeds for birds. Some may include traditional medicines, or flowers to support pollinators.
The unique project that our Greenway is planning includes three separate zones -- an area adjacent to the Commemoratives Circle at Bittersweet Way that features plants native to the area that Indigenous communities would have known and used; a second area that includes native plants as well as trees or shrubs that settlers may have brought over when they established their homesteads, like the one on this exact spot; and a third section with a mix of plants representative of current biodiversity in Manitoba.
Our planting this fall was in the second of the three zones, and included edible fruits like saskatoon, cranberry and raspberry, among other larger trees and smaller shrubs that will form the basis of this layered forest garden.
The Master Gardeners who helped plan this project were also instrumental in executing it, with a small team of helpers to spread 18 cubic yards of mulch and soak down the plants to help them get established. The small mountain of mulch, generously donated by Tommy's Natural Mulch, was needed to retain moisture and suppress weeds and grasses so that the plantings could thrive.
We are seeking donations to help us continue this project. Funds are needed to purchase plants for the other two phases of the food forest as well as bringing in soil and a water truck as needed. If you are interested in helping out please visit our Donation page. You can also contact us if you would like to get involved.
Thank you to all who helped with this fall planting. We are looking forward to doing more next year!