A Food Forest for the Community.

It’s the weekend. You’re off work and the world is your oyster. You look out your window into your yard and see that patch of bushes you’ve been meaning to trim for months. The weather’s perfect, not too hot or cold and your body is pulling you to get some fresh air and sunshine. You grab your gloves, shears, and Bluetooth speaker and step out into your own special space, your garden, shaped by no one but you and your family.

Some of my favorite days have been spent turning what my yard was when we moved in, into a place that is uniquely me. Building rain barrels, a green house, raised beds and compost bins,  I loved the physicality of the work and the lack of a deadline to get it done. When I work for myself, it’s at a pace of my choosing. Now that I got the tomatoes in, I could just sit for a while with a cup of water and meditate on what I just did. Then my eye would wander to the hackberry sprouts with their single leaves flagging themselves for removal. Once my body was rested,  I’d start a new album on my mp3 player and make short work of those stubborn sprouts, making my blackberry bed look like a spread in a gardening magazine.

The whole day would melt through the process of “What’s next?” and “Get’r done”. I inhabited a world with no ceiling and a space all my own.

Working at the Southern Heights Food Forest is very much the same. I arrive early in the morning, sip my coffee and sit, surveying the scene. Which beds should we expand today, where is the bindweed the worst, where am I needed the most? Then I put my cup down, and get to work. It’s a little different than my own space because I’m not just working for myself. I’m working for the community. When you work in this manner, there’s no time to lollygag.

Here at Southern Heights, we want to show our neighborhood how fun and educational an outdoor classroom can be with its art area, natural building space and balance beams.

We want to show our friends we can make a living growing food on a small parcel of land like partners Dustin and Jordan are doing on their Urban Agriculture Plot.

We want to show each other how to care for the land by caring for the food that will feed our children through our Community CROPS community gardens.

We want to show Lincoln how quickly and effective edible landscaping is.  With seven substantial beds being developed in our food forest, we’re already prepared to harvest food this year!

Even though I had great times in my yard, my favorite times have always been spent waking in the morning, getting supplies together and meeting my fellow volunteers at the food forest. The feeling of common purpose and meaning is what life is all about. We laugh as we work. We find our rhythm as a community. Two people moving their wheel barrows, two at the mulch pile, two others spreading it across the new bed. Working together as equals, in a food forest for the community.

Adam Hintz – SHFF Project Coordinator