On December 16th at 10am, Northside Civic League will break ground on the very first food forest in the City of Norfolk.
The planting on the 16th will install fruit and nut trees in the first phase of Northside Civic League’s plan for a food forest, a type of rain retention garden, on the grounds of Mary Calcott Elementary School. The planting will use native fruit and nut trees, fruit bearing bushes, flowers, edible herbs, and root vegetables, to mimic the characteristics of a multi-canopy forest.
The food forest will alleviate flooding on the school grounds in two ways; initially, the multi-story canopy will slow the rate at which rain reaches the ground and, secondly, the trees and shrubs will absorb 1,000 or more gallons of water per year. While rain retention is the primary goal, it is not the only selling point. The planting will also provide neighborhood beautification, opportunities for community engagement, neighborhood access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and will serve as an outdoor classroom for the school.
Northside Civic League has coordinated with the Office of Resilience, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Department of Public Works, and the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Open Space to design this communal garden. Additionally, Stringer has secured support and maintenance commitments from Mary Calcott Elementary School and the Therapeutic Recreation Center, as well as a growing list of individual volunteers.
As expected, the Northside Food Forest, the first such installation in Norfolk, is shaping up to be a point of pride for the neighborhood and the city. With this bright of a beginning, the ground breaking on December 16th is sure to be the inauguration of a long and fruitful future.
Interested volunteers should contact Jen Stringer, Northside Civic League board member and project lead at firstname.lastname@example.org.