Unused lot sprouts community 'food forest'

An overgrown lot in a suburban neighborhood is fast becoming a food forest, thanks to hard work done last November by about 100 spirited volunteers.

SAN ANTONIO - If you are looking to join other people in permaculture gardening locally, meetup.com has a Sacramento Valley Permaculture Guild and hosts several events throughout the year.

An overgrown lot in a suburban neighborhood is fast becoming a "food forest," thanks to hard work done last November by about 100 spirited volunteers.

Things are blooming and looking better every day in the Alta Vista area community garden.

Gardener Laura Prentice calls the process a magical transformation.

"It's changed a lot," Prentice said.

Surrounded by a sea of poppies, gently swaying in an early morning breeze, Prentice said the garden is a big crowd pleaser.

“People driving by just go crazy honking. It's great. It makes me so happy," Prentice said. "People just walking by, they have something nice to look at."

What is bountiful now was just bare dirt back in November.

The sweat equity of the volunteers is paying dividends as rich cover crops have blossomed and thrived.

“We planted trees, seeds, cover crops, everything you see here, in order to capture the rain water that flows off the land, and make it stay here a little bit longer and create a beautiful food forest for the community," Prentice said.

The volunteers call this a "permaculture garden."

“It's about working with natural systems to take care of the earth, the land and the people. So that's what we're trying to do here and teach other people how to do that," Prentice said.

They have been teaching and eating. So far, they have harvested kale, peas, chard and greens, but the fruit trees they planted are starting to take root as well.

“I'm so excited to see what happens with all these trees, because right now they're just sticks. So it's beautiful but it will be a whole different kind of beautiful in a few months," Prentice said.

The next community work day for the garden is scheduled for Sunday, March 26 from noon until 5 p.m.

The garden is located near San Antonio College at 602 W. French Place.

Prentice said no experience is needed, but it helps to want to have fun.

“We just do hard work, eat good food, hang out with good people and learn a lot," Prentice said.

The Alta Vista Food Forest group has a Facebook page.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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