Thursday, August 30, 2018

Simple Suggestion #277... Plant a local forest

The site of Edmonton's most recently planted food forest

These days, I like to take Shadow for walks to check on the City of Edmonton's latest food forest project. Many Edmontonians got together on Saturday to plant all sorts of food bearing trees and shrubs on the bank of the hill in Strathearn Park.

A view up the hill

City staff from Root for Trees cordoned off an area to be planted and gave volunteers lessons on how to plant saskatoon berries, bilberries, raspberries, gooseberries, nut bearing trees, I think, and I don't know what all. Hundreds of little trees and bushes are now part of the hillside for Edmontonians to enjoy in future summer seasons. And you can bet I'll be picking some of the fruit in a few years, with a little bit of luck!

Raspberries, eventually

I managed to plant 8 sets of raspberry canes before working with two others to set a bunch of bilberry shrubs (which are much like blueberries, I'm told) into the side of the hill. Steps away from us, a few more people planted about 60 Saskatoon berry bushes. The City will water until winter sets in, and hopefully the young saplings will survive the winter and thrive from here on. I'm already praying for good moisture for all those babies next spring!

These little bilberries turn red in the fall --
don't they look nice on the hillside?

To plant a tree or shrub is a wonderful, hopeful thing simply because we expect it to live beyond our years. To plant a public food forest with other Edmontonians who appreciate nature and want to participate in our earth's rejuvenation is a powerful action. It brings to mind the "Commons" shared for the "common good" by townspeople in the middle ages, a piece of local land from which all the locals could benefit.

And really, we've already benefited just from the effort of planting together. Over 120 volunteers, including youngsters from the 59th Edmonton Scouts' Group and many yellow-shirted people from Edmonton's Gayatri Pariwar community, started our little food forest by planting over 1000 edible shrubs in four hours. We enjoyed our time together, sharing stories and chatting quite naturally about environmental actions we are taking in our own lives, further inspiring each other. Working with a group of people who volunteer to plant trees is a way of investing in our community's future, no matter what kind of trees we plant.

I ended my day with a tired body and a joyful spirit... and I look forward to attending more planting events and sharing more pictures of this forest's progress in future moodlings.

So today's Simple Suggestion is an invitation, really, to do some voluntary tree planting in your community, if possible. If you're in the Edmonton area, Root for Trees has a few ongoing and future events requiring volunteers. All you need is a strong back, good shoes, and the desire to make a positive difference ion our world. Go for it!

For more Simple Suggestions, click here.

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