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Clifford Park Food Forest Home

Page history last edited by Ruth 1 week, 1 day ago


Clifford Park Food Forest 





Events & Announcements 


2021 Phase 1          2022 Phase 2         2023 Phase 3      2024 Phase 4 



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, Hartford residents, and others who might benefit. This idea was 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.


Two local soil/permaculture consultants, 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. A core group of committed volunteers has emerged, and participation at plantings and work outings is often impressive.


Since the food forest’s inception, we have met with a couple of challenges - flooding and very poor soil. The current plan reflects these challenges. You can follow the links above to see what volunteers have accomplished in the different phases over the past few years and how our plans have evolved. 


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. There is room for more people to be involved and join this community effort in whatever ways they can.


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


(802) 478-1118


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



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


Link to Short Video - some history and current plans (2024)


Link to photos from our work days



                                                                         Sunday, July 21 2-5pm
                                                                         Thursday, August 8 4-7pm
                                                                         Sunday, August 18 2-5pm
                                                                         Thursday, September 12 4-7pm
                                                                         Sunday, September 15 2-5pm
                                                                         Thursday, October 10 4-7pm
                                                                         Sunday, October 20 2-5pm



Building Soil

Evolving Plan 2024




Here are the goals we set out at the start of this project.

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. 




Original Food Forest Plan by Karen Ganey



Quechee Times article about the food forest 




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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