Northside Civic League plants food forest in Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va – The City of Norfolk received its first food forest after members of the Northside Civic League planted the garden Saturday morning.

A food forest is a type of rain retention garden, said City of Norfolk officials.

Members of the Northside Civic League gathered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mary Calcott Elementary School to plant the forest’s first crop. Establishing the forest full of fruit and nut trees, is the first phase of the groups food forest plan.

The planting of native fruit and nut trees included, fruit bearing bushes, flowers, edible herbs and root vegetables.

A big part of this garden’s design is to actually help Mary Calcott Elementary School with issues that the school has with flooding, according to the city.

“Initially, the multi-story canopy will slow the rate at which rain reaches the ground and, secondly, the trees and shrubs will absorb 1,000 or more gallons of water per year. While rain retention is the primary goal, it is not the only selling point. The planting will also provide neighborhood beautification, opportunities for community engagement, neighborhood access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and will serve as an outdoor classroom for the school,” said City of Norfolk officials in a press release to News 3.

Northside Civic League worked with the Office of Resilience, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Department of Public Works, and the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Open Space to design this communal garden.

Interested volunteers should contact Jen Stringer, Northside Civic League board member and project lead at northsidefoodforest@gmail.com.