An innovative program by the City of Edmonton, Root For Trees, is about to have a huge impact on our beloved river valley with the start of Edmonton’s first Food Forest project.

You can join us on July 19th, 2014 at MacKinnon Ravine, and become a part of Edmonton’s history!

Why am I so excited about a 1.15 acre plot of land in the river valley being transformed into a Food Forest?

A Food Forest increases biodiversity, conserves water, supports and builds soil which reduces erosion, builds communities of engaged and passionate citizens, produces food for the entire community of life, creates hands-on learning opportunities and pathways for knowledge transfer, and many other essential services necessary for a sustainable and resilient city!

The resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air. The global environment with its finite resources is a common concern of all peoples. The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust. – United Nations Earth Charter.

I was born and raised in Edmonton, so the river valley is a sacred place for me. The river valley was the primary place where my love for Nature germinated and took root. It continually draws me back year after year.

It should be no surprise to anyone that, when Dustin Bajer released news for an upcoming event to build a Food Forest I got on board right away.

If you are curious about what a Food Forest is or you want to meet people inspired about permaculture or you just want to get outside for a few hours and do something new, then I highly recommend coming out for the day. >> Register here.

Why A Food Forest Matters

I feel blessed to call Edmonton my home because there are so many brilliant and talented people here that are tackling climate change, the limits of growth, urban planning and food security head on.

Equally importantly, City Council has acknowledged the Economic, Social and Environmental challenges that we face, and has invested considerable resources to develop and deploy a 10-year action plan to transform Edmonton into a city that will grow and flourish for many generations to come.

Transforming a city the size of Edmonton requires a strategy and thoughtful planning to produce the programs and initiatives necessary to achieve our goals. The City has developed an environmental action plan, The Way We Green, and a plan for how Edmontonians will prosper, The Way We Live. There are five other strategic action plans that you can read here.

Biodiversity, Food & Agriculture, Naturalization, Sustainability and adapting to Climate Change are all covered by the strategic action plans. A Food Forest matters for many reasons:

  • It is an elegant and deeply meaningful solution that empowers people to build relationships and take action locally … AND GROW FOOD.
  • It is a design strategy that can be applied city-wide to provide access to nutrient dense, organically grown food with the side-bonus-effect of bringing Nature back into our communities.
  • It directly addresses a number of issues that the City of Edmonton has identified as pivotal for reaching our 10-year goals for a sustainable city
  • The design and composition of a Food Forest doubles as an outdoor classroom that requires little maintenance after its built.
  • It requires stakeholders from the City, from local businesses, from grass roots organizations and community leagues and many volunteers to work together under a shared vision of what Edmonton can become.
  • …AND GROW FOOD.

I hope your curiosity gets the better of you, and you decide to join us on July 19, 2014 to start this project! >> Register here.

In my next post, I will put together a set of articles and videos that you can use to get a better sense of how a Food Forest is built and what we are hoping to achieve with our first Food Forest.

What do you think will happen with the Food Forest project? Do you think it will achieve 100% success? How can we implement this strategy more widely?