Permaculture Food Forest in Bigfork; Bigfork Schools Next?

Vegetated Swale

Vegetated Swale

by Catherine Haug, April 19, 2013

(image, right, from the City of Sandy, Oregon)

This week’s Bigfork Eagle features several articles about Alternative Agriculture. I just published a short post about one of them: Sprouted barley fodder for livestock feed at Flathead Lake Lodge. Another one that caught my eye is Building A Dream: Community Crossroads Memorial Garden by the Eagle’s new editor, David Reese.

I’m excited to read that Polson’s Kelly Ware is moving forward with a permaculture garden in our community, on Crossroads Church property. I hope this leads to similar work on a garden at Bigfork’s schools.

Garden at Bigfork Schools?

For some time now, ESP has been working with personnel and the board at Bigfork schools to start a garden on school property. A plot of land has been dedicated for this use (just east of the Bigfork Senior Center, on the Big-B hill), and it was recently treated with a controlled burn, but ground has not yet been broken.

Because the site is on a slope, I’ve been encouraging those involved to construct swales, which are permaculture gullies or depressions in the land to retain runoff water in the area for nourishing the plants.

Swales for water retention

Swales can be beautiful as well as practical; see image, above, from City of Sandy, OregonSandy is a mildly hilly small town (at the foot of Mt. Hood). They have constructed swales around the downtown sidewalks and parking areas to control, filter and capture water flow. This provides a very attractive addition to the city’s aspect; see the Sandy’s Vegetated SwaleGrassy Swales and Vegetated Infiltration Basins for photos and description.

For more information about swales, please see:

Farm to School Garden Projects at Somers Middle School

On a related note, Somers is implementing gardening in their middle school: Farm to School meets lawn to lunchroom at Somers Middle School, by Katrin Frye, on Montana Public Radio. (Thanks to Sally J. for this link)

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