An edible forest takes root in Normal
The Refuge Food Forest in Normal is an urban demonstration site for the University of Illinois woody perennial polyculture research. U of I Extension partnered with the Town of Normal, the Savanna Institute, and Midwest Agriculture & Restoration Services to create the first urban food forest in an Illinois public park. The food forest, a form of urban agroforestry designed to create a sustainable food production system, integrates a diversity of fruit and nut trees, berries, herbs, and vegetables. The end result is intended to be an edible landscape, largely self-sustaining and open to the public for harvesting.
“The food forest is designed to build community and help people reconnect with the source of their food,” says Extension educator Bill Davison. Last spring some 75 volunteers, ranging from preschoolers to great-grandparents, planted 2,500 fruit trees, shrubs, cane fruits, perennial vegetables, herbs, and native prairie plants. Volunteers continue to maintain and weed the growing forest. The Refuge, named for an orphanage once on the site, is on town-owned property northeast of Illinois State University. The location is accessible from a nearby bike trail and is walking distance of the Mulberry School and Normal Community Activity Center.
“We are thrilled to build on the research and advice of Kevin and others on campus at Illinois,” Davison says. “Based on observations from the Urbana site, we should expect a tremendous increase in the amount of life and ecological services in our food forest in the next two years.” The residents of Normal can also look forward to the textures and flavors of fresh delights, including raspberries, grapes, gooseberries, apples, pears, hazelnuts, and chestnuts.
For more information contact Bill Davison, Local Foods and Small Farms Educator with U of I Extension's Livingston, McLean and Woodford Unit at (309) 663-8306 or email@example.com.
- Million-meal milestone ensures families have food to eat
- Farmland donated to benefit Clinton County Extension
- As Spring Nears, ‘Tis the Season for Horticulture Education
- When trauma touches the classroom: U of I Extension workshops train teachers to offer hope
- Looking for anaplasmosis in beef cattle
- Illinois organizations partner with Extension to combat malnutrition in seniors
- Extension’s Tony Franklin awarded 2017 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award on Leadership in Diversity
- Piece by piece, 4-H members stitch together hope for children battling cancer
- STARTUP Jefferson County provides entrepreneurs and small business owners the tools to succeed
- In the face of disaster, Extension Disaster Education Network provides enduring support
- Peoria “stormwater farm” demonstrates power of connecting design thinking with improved public health outcomes
- Incoming freshmen: Apply now for the Extension to ACES Scholarship!
- As the Refuge Food Forest bears fruit, a community's fascination blossoms
- Think globally, act locally: Woodchip bioreactors help farmers reduce nutrient runoff
- BRANDT 4-H race car wins Xfinity maiden race
- Champaign-Urbana collects 13,000 pounds of unwanted medicine
- Data-Driven Dairy
- Illinois biennial report recognizes positive, voluntary steps to reduce nutrient loss
- Persistence pays off: Orr Center celebrates 40 years of progress, partnership
- Gardening with your senses
- Google donates $1.5 million and virtual reality technology to support 4-H youth science programs
- Extension wins award at Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior 2017 annual conference
- 4-H has your seat to the eclipse
- 4-H Bridge Bust Participants Earn More than Awards
- Macon County Master Naturalist Gives Back
- U of I Students Share Ideas to Improve Peoria’s Southside Neighborhood
- Two University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Pollinator Projects Receive Grants
- Healthy Carnival Planned by Teens to Promote Nutrition and Activity
- Illinois Master Gardener program celebrates 40th anniversary
- Illinois State Board of Education Awards $4.5 million to U of I Extension for school food-service training
- Rockford third graders 'Farming in the Class'
- Extension experts talk turkey
- 4-H Teens as Teachers have positive impact
- Pond management workshop promotes stewardship, sound practices