I think that one of the main goals with the Food Forest project is to help create a real space that we are currently lacking on campus. The food forest will serve as a sanctuary for any student on campus. I often find myself wandering around school searching for a quite place to sit, a place that feels separated from the hustle and chaos on campus. I envision the food forest as a place to go and clear the mind, read a book, chat with a friend, or just watch animals interact. I envision a space where people not only see a fruit tree, but a tree that they have a tangible connection with, a tree that they maybe helped plant. I think that by involving the UMBC community with the creation of the food forest will give people a vested interest in the success of the space. People involved with plantings will continually revisit their work and watch it grow, which will consistently reinforce their connection with the food forest. The people involved with the project will invite family and friends to come and see their work, connecting even more people to the space and inspiring others to recreate food forest in their neighborhoods. The food forest on campus will serve as a model for other schools and communities.
My personal goal for the food forest is for it to have a caretaker/caretakers. Since i am currently working on transitioning from living in Maryland to moving to New York, I won’t be around to look after the food forest. Before I graduate I intend to find a student who will continue to care for the space and pass on knowledge to future students who will be caretakers. In Native American communities, each individual had a particular place that they identified with, and swore to it’s protection. The Native Americans believed that if everyone protected a particular space that the earth would be taken care of. I hope to continue this tradition in some way. My idea for my project is to create a “how to manual, on caring for a food forest”. The manual will contain all of the necessary information for the caretaker of the space. It will consist of pruning, planting, innoculating, and harvesting dates. It will also contain a list of all plant, fungi, and animal species in the food forest. The manual will have a troubleshoot guide for the multitude of potential problems, from pest to people. My hope is that after the completion of the manual the caretaker will feel confident and empowered to watch over the food forest.