Imagine a huge organic garden, self-sufficient and completely run by volunteers. Then imagine that the garden’s endless bounty is available, free of charge, to anyone and everyone who stops by to pick it up.
This is the concept of Seattle’s Food Forest and I am completely mesmerized by it. What an amazing way for low income and inner city families (and everyone else) to have access to fresh, healthy fruit and veggies. People will have a chance to actually work with the earth and grow their own food. Add to this a sense of community, the peace and healing that comes with being close to nature and this food forest will transform lives.
I so hope Vancouver follows in Seattle’s footsteps soon. Really, really soon. In the meantime though, we have Kitsilano Community Gardens. Three blocks filled with flowers and food. It’s not a free forest but the rule is that anything growing over the fence is up for grabs. Happily, I’ve eaten a ton of raspberries under that rule.
The garden is my zen place to enjoy a berry snack, then relax and watch the world go by. It takes me right back to my best memories of a childhood in the country, surrounded by nature. I grab my dog and a good book and walk barefoot along the grass until I find a perfect spot to sit, usually right beside a bed of flowers. Lots of gardeners and their canine companions stop to chat. Bumblebees and butterflies come to visit and the scent of the garden’s blooms surround everything.
Gardeners who have an abundance of produce usually like to share with you if you’re in the right place at the right time. A friend of mine was given several bags of fresh rhubarb last season and still has a freezer full of yummy preserves.
Okay, so we don’t have our own food forest yet, but this is a pretty amazing spot to hang out in while we’re waiting and I’m very grateful that it’s growing in my backyard.
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. – May Sarton