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Center for an Ecology-Based Economy

Resilient Communities Restoring the Earth

Food Forest

Norway, Maine

Food Forest Kick-Off

Visioning a Food Forest: 3 Sessions

August 23th, September 23rd, October 27th, 2014


In our 3 fall Visioning Sessions we hosted over sixty community members at the ADCG and at CEBE to introduce the concept of a perennial food forest and gather ideas from the community. We discussed the need for a transition away from high-input annual mono-crop agriculture towards low-input perennial systems. A mailing list was begun.


While the ADCG Community Food Forest (CFF) is modest in scale, our hope is to demonstrate how our food production can rely much less on fossil fuels and other non-renewable inputs, provide better nutrition, and help sequester carbon to slow climate change. In these workshops we also discussed many additional functions that various plants in the CFF could perform, including: plant medicine, habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects, nitrogen fixing, nutrient accumulation and other soil building functions, fuel, fiber, dye, windbreaks, lumber, trellising materials, tool handles, weaving and basketry materials, pest confusion and trapping, beauty.


The group, who collectively had a broad base of plant knowledge, also identified many of the existing species on the CFF site. These included: Milkweed, Thistle, Goldenrod, Tansy, Steeplebush, Wild Lettuce, Evening Primrose, Choke Cherry, Crabapple, Butter and Eggs, Fireweed, Turtle head, Vetch sp. Cattails, Alder, Elderberry, Yarrow, Mullein, Gill–Over-the-Ground, Eastern White Pine, Day Lilly, Black Berry


We considered site conditions including sun angles, wind direction, soils and water, wildlife pressure, as well as relationships with the existing neighbors. In this workshop we focused primarily on how we want the garden to function, not only in its relationships between plants, but more importantly, within the community.


Ideas that surfaced were:

  • Place-based, experiential, tangible, education and demonstration, (create opportunities and incentives.)
  • Workshop Space
  • Youth Focus
  • Handicap accessibility
  • Fodder for chickens, other small livestock
  • Inspiration for other communities and individuals
  • A plant Nursery and Seed Bank
  • A gathering place, Sanctuary
  • Outdoor Art Studio
  • Culinary and Medicinal Herb “Living Compendium”
  • Native plant preservation


We also identified potential challenges/issues:

  • Neighbor relations
  • Long-term support and maintenance
  • Monitoring for theft and accidental damage
  • Potential Flooding
  • Signage and Identification of species
  • Pests and disease


Benefits for the Community

  • It will create diversification of the food supply for our community (measured by cataloging species diversity).

  • It will provide educational opportunities for general public, as well as for youth leadership program participants.

  • It will engage the permaculture community where the need for demonstration-scale perennial polyculture sites is widely recognized.

  • It will create pollinator and beneficial insect habitat to support the annual gardening at the community garden.

  • It will also greatly increase the food production capacity of the land for many generations.

  • We will create ongoing cataloging of species diversity of our planting, as well as the native pollinators and beneficial insects being hosted by the system.

  • The food produced and distributed from the project will be recorded, as well as volunteer participation and workshop attendance.

  • As a long-term perennial system, yields will be increasing as the system matures, but intercropping with annuals will assure short-term food yields.


Project Timeline

Fall 2014: We held three community visioning sessions with emphasis on community engagement. A “microsite” on the CEBE website was created to catalog the work of the visioning sessions and the share the layout as it evolves.


Fall/Winter 2014/15: Conducted design charette and complete design including plant list. Ordered plants and seeds from multiple sources including local nurseries. Presented design to community for feedback.


Spring 2015: Prepared planting beds for trees including cover-cropping and/or mulching. Installed edible plantings of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in defined “guilds” with other supporting herbaceous perennials, biennials and annuals.


Summer 2015: Added annual “companion” plantings to fill in space spaces between perennials.


Ongoing: Pruning, weeding and spraying as needed with organic controls.


Project Budget:

$5000 Food Forest Design, Workshop Programming & Implementation by CEBE


$2000 Food Forest Trees, Plants, and Seeds


$1500 Food Forest Soil Building (hauling in compost and materials)

Quick Facts


Think of an edible forest garden, containing a diverse mix of plants like fungi, herbaceous ground covers, perennial vegetables, fruit and nut bearing vines, shrubs, and trees.


 Maine Local Foods Grant funded by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Maine Sunday Telegram.



$5000 Food Forest Design, Workshop Programming & Implementation by CEBE


$2000 Food Forest Trees, Plants, and Seeds


$1500 Food Forest Soil Building (hauling in compost and materials)



Interested in getting involved? Email us or call 207-739-2101.



Visioning session

Food Forest Plants

15 Years from Now...

Above are notes from planning
sessions to create the food forest.

Check out our project partners @ alandaygarden.com/food-forest

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