Food Forest Gardens

by Michael Stroud, Natural Resources Commissioner

St. Charles, with its accessible riverfront and magnificent open spaces is a  beautiful place to call home, and we have a responsibility to take care of and enhance the gift given to us by nature. One way to do this is through the creation of food forest gardens.

The first and most well-known, successful food forest garden is Carver Edible Park in Asheville, North Carolina, established in 1997. It hosts over 40 varieties of fruit and nut trees and berry bushes. A huge vegetable garden is planted annually, and community members are encourages to take food home with them. Produce is also donated to food pantries. The forest garden is a learning place where teachers and families may take children to learn about growing food. It is a restful place to take a stroll and gran an apple along the way. Forest food gardens enhance nature, replenish the oxygen level of earth and provide food to communities. the food forest garden also serves as a model for homeowners who may want to grow their own food gardens at home.

Creating a food forest garden requires cooperation from local city or park governments, business and personal donors, and volunteers, led by a group of dedicated community members with experience and drive. I believe St. Charles has the physical and human resources to make a food forest garden reality. There’s a Facebook page where we can discuss the possibilities and organize for action  Let’s grow together!