Healthy Living’s Edible Gardens
Four years ago I walked into Katy Lesser’s office and gleefully announced that I wanted to grow food in the parking lot of Healthy Living. To my delight and surprise, Katy’s reply was an enthusiastic, “Great! When can you get started?” I have to confess I didn’t have any specific ideas for plantings. but in my mind I knew that a market like Healthy Living could be a model for the rest of the community. I wanted to see more food grown in urban places in a way that could be both inspiring and educational. I remember the first day of planting; it was just me on a wet and really cold morning and I had 20 big blueberry plants to dig into the landscape.
I thought to myself, “This can not fail! Please little plants; grow, grow, grow.” That year I planted currants, seaberry, hardy kiwi and grapes, mostly haphazardly, around the landscape. I planted a kitchen garden, which I have done each year and have to admit of all the agricultural projects I work on, that little 20 x 20 space is really special to me.
Fast forward to 2014 – I walked back into Katy’s office and proclaimed that I wanted to start converting the islands beds into edible forest gardens. I wanted to recreate the beds as edible ecosystems that mimicked the structure and function of a natural forest. Almost breathlessly, I tried to communicate that we would install the plants in polycultures, dynamic self organizing plant communities, that include medicinal herbs, perennial vegetables, fruits and berries – all the while trying to increase biodiversity, utilize plants that accumulate nutrients, create habitat for beneficial insects and fix nitrogen in the soil. This time I thought for sure Katy would think I was a nut, and even if she is an avid gardener she would think my idea was a little far fetched. Again Katy said “Yes, yes, yes!”
When I started four years ago I was mostly ignored while standing outside tending the plants. Today I’m constantly asked about the gardens. In fact I had a community member once leave a note on the trellis saying how much they enjoyed seeing the garden come to life each year. Wowsa! At that moment I realized I’d done my job.
Thanks to Katy and staff for indulging the crazy gardener. The opportunity to work with Healthy Living has unquestionably given me the opportunity to grow my business, create jobs for other skillful gardeners and share my knowledge with enthusiastic gardeners.
See you in the garden,
Vermont Edible Landscape, LLC is a land planning business focused on the development of agro-ecosystems. We work with our clients to design, install and establish ecologically regenerative landscapes. We approach land management through an agrarian lens utilizing a variety of diverse biological disciplines. Our services include: Site Evaluation, Planning and Development. As an extension of our land planning business we run a small nursery that offers a wide range of planting materials to help support both residential and agricultural projects. We are solely focused on growing perennial plants that sequester carbon, produce food, fodder or medicine.