I share this with the hope that others might be inspired to do the same or, if they’ve done this already, to share what they’ve done and how it’s worked.
We are creating two neighborhood micro-nurseries to raise plants that will be shared with neighbors for years to come. This is part of our 'Edible 'Hood' program, which is dedicated to creating a food oasis in our socio-economically diverse neighborhood.
We recently received $1,000 from the Pollination Project to purchase, share, and plant tree guilds in our neighborhood this coming spring. Our first two nurseries are the second phase and natural outgrowth of that gift which will allow us to raise diverse plants including production (fruit and nut) trees, nitrogen fixers, medicinals, insectories, and nutrient accumulators right in our neighborhood. Over time, as we select seed and raise the best specimens, these plants will be uniquely adapted to our neighborhood's environment. Or, as our friend and collaborator Neil Bertrando put it, we are creating “locally adapted genetics”.
Each year we will be able to harvest trees to give away to neighbors thus creating a neighborhood-scale food forest as well as fostering personal relationships, the glue of community. Furthermore, as our nursery and food forest grow and thrive at our urban permaculture homestead, it will serve as a great teaching tool and model for what is possible for others' homes. Little by little, guild by guild, over years to come, we will share plants and permaculture with a diverse urban population.
One nursery will go in our backyard, the other three houses down. With two sites so close together we'll be able to closely monitor and manage the nurseries. The second nursery will be in the tender care of Roberto and Sandra (both experienced gardeners from Guatemala) and their amazing 13-year old son, Jose (who loves to garden and grow trees from seed and pick fruit from trees he's scouted out on his bike and help us dig potatoes...did I mention he's just 13!). Together we'll be on our way to creating a more food, habitat, and friendship-rich neighborhood.
After crunching the numbers both nurseries can be started for a total of $400. We started a We the Trees campaign to meet that goal. If we raise more than that, we will purchase more bare root plants to give us a head-start on growth. Monies raised will be used for seeds, bare-root plants, and high-efficiency drip irrigation equipment.
Kyle Chandler-Isacksen helps run the Be the Change Project, an urban homestead and learning center dedicated to service and simplicity and rooted in Integral Nonviolence. BTC was inspired by the Possibility Alliance in Missouri and was one of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Homesteaders of the Year in 2013. They operate on the gift economy and their homestead, within view of the neon lights of downtown Reno, is electricity, fossil-fuel, and car free.
The photo is of Katy, Susan, Weston, and kids after helping to plant over 100 trees and plants on one property in the 'hood during a work-bee.
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