Edible Flowers in Urban Permaculture
As we seek to heal ourselves, our communities, and Earth, we must start with where we are living today – and for over 50% of humanity that is the urban environment. As the human population continues to grow, high-density human habitat (aka “cities”) are essential to ensure that other habitat remains for the rest of life. But cities need not be divorced from nature – did you know that in addition to cats, dogs, squirrels, skunks, possums, raccoons, coyotes, deer, mice, rats, sparrows, crows, owls and seagulls that there are also wild turkeys, hawks and even bobcats living in Boston? Indeed, over 90% of the species of life are found within the living soil beneath our feet. The Boston Food Forest Coalition is working with neighbors to plant edible “forest gardens” throughout the city – mimicking woodland ecosystems and cleaning up toxic soils, reclaiming vacant lots, and planting edible perennials, fruit and nut trees. Not only does this help feed urban dwellers, it weaves community relationships and connects people back to nature as we tend plants and create spaces for wildlife to flourish.
Come learn more about this effort to transform the urban landscape, as we learn hands-on techniques by planting an edible perennial flower bed using the “hugelkultur” method. Hugelkultur, essentially mounded beds, protects food from soil toxics, especially important in the city, while eliminating the need for watering and weeding – come learn the lazy gardeners approach! Flowers serve many ecosystem functions including beauty and food, and they also help pollinators and attract beneficial insects. Not only will you have fun learning by doing, but the workshop will plant flowers that blossom in June to be a permanent contribution to the beauty of Unifier Festival – what we call “stacking functions” in permaculture lingo.
Orion is a visionary community organizer and author who has dedicated his life to Earth healing, starting with urban communities. After completing his masters in urban planning at Harvard, he spent ten years at the Tellus Institute coordinating the Great Transition Initiative, an international network of scholars and activists examining the requirements for a transition to a sustainable planetary civilization. Over the past five years he co-founded the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JPNET) in his own neighborhood to catalyze community leadership and launch new initiatives such as a time trade circle, farmers market, land trust, and spaces for community dialogue and action across race and class divisions. Emerging from this local work, he is now directing the Boston Food Forest Coalition, which applies permaculture design principles to build nourishing relationships between neighbors, land, and food in the city. Boston Food Forest Coalition is establishing a conservation easement land trust and envisions a robust network of food forests gardens stewarded by neighbors and community partners throughout the city. Orion completed his Permaculutre Design Certificate studying with Lisa Fernandes of the Resilience Hub in Portland, ME.