On October 27, 2011 from 10am-12pm, Clarkston Development Foundation lead a tour of the site of the Clarkston Community Center Food Forest. This is a one of the kind landscape installation in the Atlanta metro area. It is a mixed orchard designed for beauty and to produce lots of food with little maintenance, for many years to come.
What is a Food forest?
By using perennial plants that produce food in our gardens, we drastically increase the return on investment (ROI) of the efforts we put into the garden. Preparing a planting bed and planting 10 lettuce and planting an apple tree might be comparable amounts of work, but the results are quite different–10 heads of lettuce or 3000 bushels of apples ever year for the next 100 years. There are many fruits, nuts, berries and vegetables that come from perennial plants.
A food forest mimics the anatomy of a woodland ecosystem, but substitutes food producing plants bushes and trees. The arrangement of plants in different niches (canopy, understory, ground cover) allows for sharing of space without competition and mutually beneficial relationships, between plants. This helps all plants thrive, and therefore be produce lots of food.
Passive Rainwater Harvesting
The entire area will be irrigated, once established, by “retention swales”. The swales reduce the amount of rainwater runoff from the land and insure that all rainwater that falls on the land, infiltrates into the ground, into the root zones of the trees in the food forests, providing them with sufficient quantities of water all year round.
Specifics of food production amounts
Beginning in 5 years, the blueberry bushes planted at the CCC will produce between 100 and 250 lbs of blueberries per year for the next 40 years.
The apple and pears trees will produce 100-400lbs per year each for the next 100 years.
The muscadines will produce between 30 and 120lbs for the next 500 or more years (longer than the fence they are trained on will last.
It was great to be able to share this site with the visitors and we look forward to developing other sites around Clarkston in areas where it makes sense and with the Clarkston community that will create pockets of food production and add to the local ecology.
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