By Sam Polly of Streamline Planning Consultants
Quietly stepping between the deer tracks, a loud buzz drums my ears as an Allen’s hummingbird shoots past me on its way its next feeding location. Careful not to step on the busy ground bees making their nests in the sand, I listen to the yellow breasted chat talking the morning up from his treetop perch. As the morning fog gives way to the intense valley heat, I marvel at the lush, green appearance of the upcoming chestnut trees and fruit tree rootstocks surrounding me during the driest year on record. Thanks to the permaculture practices we’ve employed in this garden, minimal water has been required to produce such succulent growth. Reflecting on the food prices I observed during last week’s grocery store visit, I smile knowing this garden will soon help reduce visitors’ food bills.
As Streamline Planning Consultant’s edible landscape, garden and agricultural consultant, you can imagine how excited I was when close to 100 people from across Humboldt County, and even as far away as Utah, showed up to the inaugural Eco Garden tour last month. Located at 4103 Fieldbrook Road, behind Fieldbrook Community Church, this unique installation showcases a large variety of relatively unknown edible perennial crops with a combination of unique, cutting-edge planting practices in community garden and food forest garden settings.
During the tour on August 9, practices such as hugelkultur, foodstumping, ecomulch, prosperity crops and native edibles fascinated visitors, many of whom had never seen such techniques on the ground. The most rewarding aspect of the tour was to see people from all walks of life enjoying time together, learning about the common ground we share in sustainable food production. Visitors can return for personal study and to see how the garden progresses as an ecosystem and to learn how we can create a more prosperous community.