Last week our class went to the food forest, for me this was a great experience because I got to learn about native plants and sustainable agriculture. Personally I try to live more sustainably and encourage others to do so as well. I enjoyed viewing the food forest and being introduced to the different flora species in the garden. Restoring biodiversity is important to me. Learning about the lack of topsoil and the need to build it up in order to maintain healthy plants was an old concept that was expanded what I already knew. However, I learned there are particular plants that can help the process of restoring top soil, which the use in Mason’s food forest, I fail to recall its name but it starts with a c, maybe comfrey. Seeing what I had only previously dreamed about first hand really solidified my determination to work on conservation and to make a difference through education and practice.
Some obstacles to conservation and suitability work were also introduced, like bureaucracy and cost. The cost of things similar to food forests have a large upfront cost and high maintenance until plants settle in, and some grow to maturity, then they become self-sustaining. Long term gardens like the food forest and rain garden are worth they investment because of their ability to provide food, control runoff, and restore top soil.
Sustainability is important to me, however I do not know everything I can do to be more sustainable, and how to promote sustainable landscaping on a larger scale from the point of an individual. I would like to learn how to set up a garden back home that requires low maintenance, and is beneficial to the environment. How to identify plants that are native and that will grow well in certain areas.
This trip helped my knowledge of sustainability grow as I learned about how gardens are set up to best suite the plants in them, like the comfreys placement and at what elevations certain plants grow best and the amount of water particular areas receive. The best part of the trip was seeing how a variety of plants were used to fill in ecosystem niches and every plant had a role in the productivity and health of the gardens. Getting more in depth on these kind of subjects and process would be highly enjoyable and valuable to me. Ecologically, and in my opinion, these gardens should be models for the kinds of projects being worked on in order to reach a sustainable society.