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Clifford Park Food Forest Home

Page history last edited by Ruth 5 months, 1 week ago


Clifford Park Food Forest & Abenaki Garden



Events & Announcements          Phase 1          Phase 2           Phase 3


Abenaki Garden                  To Do List                 Lead Teams


Building Soil



Clifford Park Food Forest Project, Summer, 2022

In 2021, Resilient Hartford, a town commission of volunteers committed to making Hartford a more resilient community, began working with the Hartford Parks and Recreation Department on a plan to develop a portion of Clifford Park into a food resource for neighbors of the park and Hartford residents in response to concerns about food insecurity, to reduce the amount of lawn that the Parks and Recreation Department needs to maintain and to build community. The Food Forest is a pilot project that Resilient Hartford would like to see expand to other Hartford parks and to other communities.


To assist Resilient Hartford in kicking off this project, two veteran local soil/permaculture consultants and grassroots activists, Cat Buxton and Karen Ganey were hired to assist Resilient Hartford in developing a vision and design for the food forest, conduct community workshops and guide a community process to make this town food resource a reality. The project will be phased and take a few years to complete and will rely on volunteers.


Phase 1 of the project was completed in the fall of 2021 and included planting of three plum trees and their guilds as well as ten nut trees (three chestnuts, three butternuts, two burr oaks and one linden).


In the spring of 2022, Phase 2 was underway with the planting of five pear trees, three peach trees, three hawthorn trees, eight hazelnut trees and nine chestnut trees. This spring also added another feature to the Food Forest. Resilient Hartford member Earl Hatley began work to plan an Abenaki Garden adjacent to the Food Forest. For the first year, Earl will plant cover crops to build up the soil and provide mulch in the future as well as Jerusalem artichokes and sunflowers.


A core group of committed volunteers has emerged, and participation at plantings and work outings is impressive. A volunteer team set up a watering schedule. Although Resilient Hartford has a solid core group of volunteers, there is a lot of work that needs to be done for the Food Forest to be sustainable for years to come. More volunteers also will help build community which is an important component.



Please contact Hartford Town Planner Matt Osborn if you would like to be involved.


(802) 478-1118


See the Side Bar to the right for links to documents, slides, and presentation recordings.


Clifford Park is located at 100 Recreation Drive in West Hartford, Vermont.



Quechee Times article about the food forest 


Link to photos from our work days



Food Forest Plan by Karen Ganey


We Aim:

To create an accessible and inclusive space for the community to come together to grow food naturally and regeneratively. 

To restore soil health.

To create a food forest with mostly native, fruit bearing shrubs, trees and perennials.

To nurture opportunities to learn good stewardship of our environment. 

To create space where people share knowledge and skills.

To provide a space for reinvigorating the human soul! 

To nurture wonder, pride, belonging, abundance, relaxation, peace, and FUN! 

To create habitat for pollinators, wild fauna, migratory birds, and wildlife.

To strengthen the wildlife corridor along the White River.

To explore how input intensive parks can be transformed into low maintenance and regenerative social and environmental ecosystems. 

To work cooperatively with Abenaki community members to learn about traditional ecological knowledge. 



How the area looked before, in July 2021

What was growing there?




in early spring, 2021



Rough Timeline

Year 1

May - Formed steering committee, began creating teams, Intro presentation

June - Workshop #1, Workshop #2, more people joining teams, thinking about design

July - Workshop #3, design (at least the bed layout), materials collection for building soil, soil building once design is approved

August 25th - Resilient Hartford Meeting - finalizing details of the planting plan, sourcing trees and necessary materials etc. 
September 9th - Community Meeting Presentation & Discussion (Spread the Word!)
September 18th - Planting Work Party


Year 2

January - Organizational meeting, design specifics, budget, investigate sources of plants

February -Town approval of design, budget, fundraising as soon as plan is approved and budget is done


April - Phase 2 tree planting


June - seeding between trees, mark out Abenaki garden spot and mulch plot, plant Jerusalem artichokes




Community Orchard 

Collaborative Growing Spaces 

Free Food

Place-Based Education



Flood & Drought Resilience

Community-scale Organics Management



Community Input at the Beginning

  • a fabulous idea and will bring the community together; 

  • pocket parks could be scattered along the trails; 

  • quiet places, trails, benches etc could easily be integrated into the forest or orchard; 

  • organic/biodynamic food-growing areas for town food are imperative for public health and local resilience; 

  • all trees are fruit bearing and there are gardens in all available locations;  

  • I think the whole park should be planted to perennial crops for all to harvest;

before planting gardens, assure the soil is safe; 

a herd of goats to use for ‘mowing’-- goats could be housed in a barn at one of the parks;

important to have native trees;

  • alternative methods using vertical gardens and magnetic energy in small spaces to provide more food than a conventional garden (at innovation.com); 

  • community composting 

  • organized and professional town garden/farm, with real infrastructure and employees;

  • it’s a brilliant use of space, will help with food security, and build community; 

  • maximizing the amount of food is a good idea: drop apples are good for cider and all drop fruit is good feed for pigs, chickens and cows; 

  • designing food producing areas into our parks would have great nutritional, environmental, social and economic benefits; 

  • GREAT ideas around food!; community composting; 

  • Play spaces, multi-use, classes, educational workshops, concerts   








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