Permaculture garden

In last Tuesday’s worksession, the Council heard a presentation from Permaculture consultant Lincoln Smith about a proposed Permaculture garden in city’s Berwyn neighborhood.

City’s Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) has been working for some time exploring a demonstration permaculture site in the City. This project is intended to provide several benefits to the community including various edible fruits, nuts & berries as well as environmental education. Permaculture consultant Lincoln Smith was contacted to draft an initial plan for the Trolley Trail in Berwyn. This area was selected as a pilot project recognizing the potential for a unique educational opportunity for trail users and residents to experience permaculture plantings. Mr. Smith has presented the plan to the Berwyn District Civic Association (BDCA) and the Tree and Landscape Board (TLB).

The plan was presented to members of the Tree and Landscape Board (TLB) at their meeting on May 21. The plan received unanimous support from the TLB. The TLB proposed the location north of Quebec Street for the pilot permaculture site based on the lack of existing plantings. They also identified a potential partnership with nearby Holy Redeemer School for supplemental educational opportunities and maintenance by interested community members. The TLB was responsive to following Mr. Smith’s planned ecological concept of forest layers of fruit trees, edible shrubs and pollinating plants grouped together. The Board dismissed the idea of planting only one of the planned layers such as just the trees or shrubs.

Staff reviewed the plans and recommends locating the pilot project in the block between Greenbelt Road and Tecumseh Street because it will provide full demonstration of the forest layer concept, which was the desire of the TLB. By installing all planting layers of trees, shrubs and supporting perennials it will permit the evaluation and viability of all layers in the difficult growing medium along the trolley trail. In addition, it will allow staff to determine maintenance requirements of a full forest layer. As a result of the increase in planned landscape plantings, which require the need for regular maintenance to be successful, the Public Works Department will be requesting one additional FTE in the landscape maintenance team to maintain the project as it is phased in. The Trolley Trail Forest Garden Team, consisting of staff, CBE and TLB members, will evaluate the pilot permaculture trees, shrubs and pollinating plants for establishment and longevity before proceeding with the next phase of the project.

The Council will consider to approve the pilot project at the next regular Council meeting.