This contest entry received the highest number of high ratings from registered YGH members and was announced to be a winner of Your Green Homestead Highest Rated Entry Award for 2019. Congratulations! [see press release about this].
By Charles White (Permaculture Action Network) and Ginger-Rose Krueck (GROW Enrichment)
Did you know that one tree appropriately planted on a private backyard or in a public park could support up to 12 species of wildlife? They can include pollinators like bees, birds like finches, grazers like deer and goats, scavengers like raccoons and coyotes, and predators like cats and foxes. This applies both to urban and rural settings, effectively eliminating the attractiveness of our garbage bins for particularly pesky animals in the presence of abundant nature.
How would you know which trees to plant in your area and what locations to choose for their best survival and wildlife support over time? That is where Permaculture principles go into play and help us make wise selections based on the observations of local habitat prevalence along with soil, water, and wind conditions.
National Geographic recently showcased forest gardening of UK-based Martin Crawford who transformed a land that was a flat field in 1994 into a woodland with 500 edible plants. He is spending just a few hours per month for its maintenance. Now his garden serves as an educational resource for others interested in forest gardening. By having a diverse system, it gives you maximum resilience in the face of the changing weather and climate, says Martin Crawford in this film.
Permaculture Project at GROW Enrichment in Nashville, TN
A local example of a Permaculture project is a 14-acre holistic urban restoration center of GROW Enrichment, located within Two Rivers Regional Park in the Donelson. In the 2018 season alone, this project activated over 4,000 hours of community volunteer engagement and planted more than 1,000 trees back into the park.
In the silvopasture orchard, located at the entrance to the project site along the Stones River Greenway, the GROW team decided to focus on chestnuts as the primary tree crop. Fourteen “Celestial” variety hybrid chestnut seedlings from Greenwood Nursery were planted, spaced at 50 ft intervals, with the expectation that they will start producing their protein rich nuts in about 7-14 years reaching up to 2,000 pounds of chestnuts per year. In between them, a variety of other trees were interplanted including American Persimmon, American Red Plum, and Northern Red Oaks.
The chestnuts are more than a practical solution for addressing urban food insecurity; they tell an important cultural history story for younger generations. The American chestnut was once the most populous tree in the entire Southeastern US and was, sadly, almost entirely eradicated in the early 1900’s by a blight introduced with the introduction of the Chinese chestnut. The American Chestnut Foundation is working hard to create an American chestnut variety that is resistant to the blight and the GROW team looks forward to replanting those back into the park landscape when they are available. In the meantime, they selected the hybrid variety so that the public can begin to gain exposure and familiarity with this important species.
“Biodiversity is essential for our resilience to adverse events and climate change. Through learning about Permaculture, I’ve realized the powerful potential to address food insecurity. This is particularly impactful for the urban setting where populations are dense and land can be scarce. Permaculture invites us to think both in terms of micro-ecosystem management and the larger scale holistic management of land.” says Ginger-Rose Krueck, executive director of GROW Enrichment in Nashville, TN. “I had first-hand experience living in a densely populated city in Northern Dallas and later in a rural place. In both locations, food insecurity affected my family personally – even when we lived across from a vast field full of growing wheat.”
Ginger-Rose vividly remembered when for the first time as a teenager she received a full box of fresh apples and could eat as much of them as she wanted. They tasted so good! She couldn’t comprehend why fruit trees do not dominate our landscapes in both rural and urban areas. Now it is one of her missions at the GROW Enrichment to establish an edible food forest in one of the busy public parks in the city of Nashville and build a growing community of like-minded residents.
“Our collective vision of an active permaculture community is coming to life and growing!” shares Charles White from the Nashville Permaculture Action Network. “We are excited to share our experimental findings and knowledge with a wider community and invite anyone to come to our upcoming Nashville Permaculture Action Day on Monday, November 11, 2019 at Two Rivers Park in Nashville.”
Please visit the Nashville Permaculture Action Day event page for more information and the schedule of the fun and educational workshops, music, and food. Your Green Homestead is glad to be among over a dozen supporting organizations for this event!
Note from YGH: This post was updated after the original publication to correct a few typos.