City, community planning Guelph’s first urban food forest

Information and design workshop to be held August 12

Guelph, ON, August 6, 2015 – The City of Guelph, in collaboration with Transition Guelph and the Society for Ecological Restoration at University of Guelph (SERUG), is hosting an information and interactive design workshop for Guelph’s first urban demonstration food forest.

Individuals and community groups are invited to attend an August 12 workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. at City Hall to help create a vision, detailed design, and support structure for the food forest—also known as a forest garden.

“During the workshop, people can learn about the project, provide input into space planning, and get involved with the Guelph Community Demonstration Food Forest team,” says Rodrigo Goller, a community engagement coordinator at the City.

Viktoriya Hlamazda, a member of the SERUG, says the project relies on community involvement for it to become a reality.

“Guelph is known for its enthusiasm in supporting environmental and social projects, and we feel the demonstration food forest project aligns with the community’s goals and values. We look forward to working with neighbouring residents and various local groups to create a public space that is enjoyable and welcoming.”

About Guelph’s first demonstration food forest

The 0.62 acre demonstration food forest—to be located at the northwest end of University Village Park—is planned to be a mix of native fruit and nut bearing trees, shrubs and/or plants that mimic a natural woodland ecosystem and requires minimal maintenance.

The word ‘demonstration’ means that it will be a place where community members, school groups, and visitors to Guelph can see how a food forest works.

“Our intention is to create an accessible, volunteer-led forest garden of native edibles that requires minimal upkeep, and provide the community with educational opportunities and the potential for increased food security in the future. This food garden would address a variety of topics, including biodiversity, urban planning, water management, and food production,” says Hlamazda, adding, “Ultimately, the hope is that we encourage people to want to start their own food forests.”

Martin Neumann, manager of Parks Operations, explains how food forests can help enhance the City’s urban forest.

“We are working to renew Guelph’s aging tree canopy, and increase the size and diversity of the city’s urban forest. Residents can help by planting trees, gardens or a forest garden on their property.”

The demonstration food forest will be planted in spring 2016 should there be enough community volunteers. The City of Guelph will support its creation, and SERUG, Transition Guelph, and community organizations will be responsible for ongoing maintenance.

For more information

Rodrigo Goller
Community Engagement Coordinator
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2676