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Food Forest Design Notes

Page history last edited by Ruth 2 years, 6 months ago


Design Team Meeting 2: July 21, 2021


Notes from Jesse Marksohn: 


Recommends: Chestnuts, Hazel, Heartnut or Bitternut Hickory: for hardy, flowering in June, high starch content, good carbohydrate stable. 



Yellow Bud Hickory - could outproduce olives per acre. 75-80% fat, highest fat content of any North American nut (olive is 11-30% fat). Thin shell/husk that is easy to remove as easy as cracking it on our teeth. One tree can produce up to 100 gallons of oil! Low hanging fruit for a perennial stable fruit and is easy to grow. He can connect us to the best trees he’s found. Mix of grafted and selected seed is most important. 

Improved genetics means: annual bearing, consistent staple crops that have thin shell or easy cracking or easy processing ability that are also nutrient dense and native. 

Tannins cause it to be bitter, but tannins are water soluable so you can slow cook them and it cooks off the bitter taste. 

The oil is not bitter.


Jesse is looking for workers from October to November to pick yellow bud hickory by the gallon in our local environment. 


There are yellow bud hickories 10 ft from the water in the park between Norwich and Hanover. 

They can tolerate many different soil needs. 


Sandy loam is good for chestnuts and is also good pH for chestnuts and hazel.


Discussion: We need a 100’ buffer zone from the river bank. Could the larger recommendations like the bitternut go in that zone? It is allotted to be a 

What are riverside buffers usually made with? 


Could put large trees closer to the river then shorter smaller trees into the meadow. 


What are the flood regulations? 


Chestnuts - Don’t get grafted trees. Get select seedlings (he can send list)

  • Mossbarger - coldest Chinese Type
  • Jenny, Kintzel


Hazels - If trying to do a living fence go with seedlings from improvced parents. 

  • Get layered clones because they are not as true to parent when grown from seed, and you can’t just graft them and it takes longer to get food. 


Heartnut - Mutation of a Japanese walnuts. They are easier to crack. 

Can plant seedlings and if it is not a good progeny it can be grafted from the top with other varieties. 


Persimmon - Weedy trees - you don’t need to do much to them and they will still produce fruit. Significantly tastier than many fruits we can grow here. They graft easily. Downingtown Middle, McKenzie Middle, Prok and Meader are all zone 4 hardy. A mix of seedlings and grafted trees. 

A big range of phenotypes- early fruiting variety although there is a value to having mid to late fruiting varieties like deer magnet. Having a succession of food it can be delicious! 

Best is grown in 1 year seedling air bed 


Discussion: What about mycorrhizae? Do we need to bring this in? 

Bringing local indigenous polyculture is the easiest most effective route. 


How many trees of each species do you need for pollination? 

Case by case but usually a small handful. 

Chestnuts are not self fruitful.

Even if they can be, they will be more successful with males around. 


Burr Oak - Zone 5 hardy, low tannin, riparian zone success 


Pawpaws - Hardy, fruitful in the shade, easy to graft and propagate. 


Gooseberries and other ribes spp.  - Medicinal and nutritious. Can loose up to 60 % shade cover and not drop in production


Linden - Delicious leaves, medicinal flowers, cut and have mid season greens


Design Idea: Big trees by the river 

Alley cropping works well in this context - undulating rows following the riparian area intermixing peaches and bitter nuts that will ripen as the peaches die out. 

  • Mulberries are also great alley cropping tree. You can’t compare with improved genetics that is more money up front, but if you plant with high quality trees, you’re becoming a germplasm reforesting the agricultural lands around us, becoming food forest and 

  • Illinois Everbearing will produce for 100 years. 

  • Where is the best source for the genetics? Starting a new sight in northfield MA.  


Reference Agency of Natural Resources Atlas: 

State Flood Regulations said that whatever we put on the land, we must also be able to remove. So Cat is consulting with a planner that can help us with a permitting process that will require an engineers approval- Anne Kiner

Because what we are proposing is erosion control and soil building, we are hoping to get around it. But we can also do a one time till and add compost and microbial teas to help build the soil without adding lots of volume. 


With the sheet mulching we are also adding living roots in the soil to help hold it in place. 


Jon is going to talk to people from the Agency of Natural Resources to see if he can learn more. 




   A Draft Design from our talented Cat who figured out how to draw on Jon's map! Woo hoo!


Here is the map Jon created that shows the dimensions of the space and the setbacks from the river.




Draft Minutes of

Resilient Hartford

Clifford Park Food Forest Design Workshop #1

July 13, 2021


A Resilient Hartford workshop was held on Tuesday, July 13th at 5:30 p.m. in Room 2 of the Hartford Town Hall at 171 Bridge Street, White River Junction.  Chair Kye Cochran called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.  The meeting was also accessible remotely via Zoom and several people participated that way.


Resilient Hartford Members Present: Dylan Kreis and Chair Kye Cochran.

Resilient Hartford Liaisons Present: Jon Bouton, Conservation Commission.

Staff Present: Matt Osborn, Town Planner.

Others Present: Becky Chollet, Ruth Fleishman and consultants Cat Buxton and Karen Ganey. 


Welcome & Introductions: RH Chair Kye Cochran called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. and welcomed everyone.  Introductions were made and Kye provided background on the Food Forest project.  The idea came from RH member Dylan Kreis who also serves as the Parks Foreman for the Hartford Parks and Recreation Department.  The goal is to convert some park turf areas to other uses in order to reduce the amount of turf to maintain.  This project fits in with RH’s goal of being more independent regarding food production and security.  Kye then introduced consultant Karen Ganey of Permaculture Solutions.  Karen designs gardens that maximize biodiversity and ecosystem health. She has extensive experience working with grassroots organizations and volunteering on community projects.


Goals Articulation Brainstorming: 


Goals & Design Qualities: 

Build Soil Health 


Access to affordable/FREE food

Physical accessibility for all

Nutritional, environmental, social benefits

Reimagine public spaces

Food productions

Community involvement educations

Signage and education

Workshop spaces

Areas that kids of all ages (intergenerational spaces) will enjoy! 

Lower maintenance for the Town of Hartford 








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. 

General Design Concept:

Themes: Community, Skillsharing, Co-learning, Food Security, Education on Climate Mitigation, Soil Health, Food Preservation, Physical accessibility for everyone, nutritional, environmental, social, economic benefits for the community, Useful spaces for workshops and presentations (ie. on soil health and climate mitigation)


Design Ideas: Choose one zone to focus on for Fall 2021. 

  • Center Guild with gardens radiating out 
  • Guilds connected by pathways 
  • Keystone Species with guilds around them



  • Butternuts, Bitternuts, Heartnuts 
  • Basswood Linden, White Oak (SEE LIST FROM CAT)
  • Fruit Trees: Apples, Pears, Peaches, Plums 


Shrub Layers

  • Saskatoon/June Berry 
  • Sambucus Elderberry 
  • Mulberry 
  • Hazelnut / Hazelbert
  • Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry): Sour berries, high antioxidants. Berries are good for wildlife including birds, butterflies and insect pollinators. 
  • Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants have a wide range of soil tolerance Best fruit production usually occurs in full sun. Remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread unless desired.
  • Vibernum Trilobum (Highbush Cranberry)
  • Clethera alnifolia (Summer Sweet): butterflies, hummingbirds, moths
  • Lindera Benzoin (Spicebush): Swallow tail butterfly


Karen noted that this is a phased project that will take several years to complete and that we will start small and evolve.  Cat Buxton agreed noting that we need to start small to ensure it is achievable in the short term as well as being attractive and draw in the community as we go.  Karen suggested that with fruit trees, there is a minimum of three trees with guilds.  Cat noted that we will have access to trees through 350 Vermont.      


Next Workshop: It was agreed to hold the second design workshop on Wednesday, July 21st at 6:30 p.m. It will take place in Room 2 again and will also be accessible via Zoom. 


Adjournment: Kye Cochran thanked everyone for attending the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:17 p.m.



Design Process Phase 1

Meeting on Tuesday, July 13 at 5:30pm via Zoom


Here is a rough agenda for our time together: 

1. Introductions

2. Assessment - Overview of the park map and focus area 

3. Goals Articulation - What are the top 3 - 5 goals that will guide our process of design 

4. What are the top 3 - 5 elements that will accomplish these goals? 

5. What species: trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals do we want to grow and why? 


These are just some guide posts for us to work from to get our imagination going, but feel free to bring other items, questions and ideas! - Karen


Slides from Karen's presentation:

Ecological Design & Species Considerations Clifford Park.pdf


June 15, 2021 - Karen will lead the design process. She's away until June 28 with Change the World Kids. We can't really start until we have the basic design layout of paths and beds, and have defined the scope of how big we go the first, second and third years. We can start accumulating materials. Design team volunteers are welcome to begin sketches if so inspired. (email from Cat)






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