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Fresh from the Forest Garden - Vermont Edible Landscapes

June 11, 2014

Meghan Giroux’s edible landscapes integrate trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and fungi to create low-maintenance forest gardens that mimic the natural forest and provide food and medicinal plants. These ecosystems can be used to revitalize any size piece of land, like the island beds she converted at Healthy Living Market and Café in South Burlington. After scoping out the spot, Meghan decided to approach Healthy Living's Owner Katy Lesser about starting some edible ecosystems in the greenspaces throughout the market property. Katy, an avid gardener herself, was excited by Meghan’s plans and saw an opportunity to provide an educational tool, along with a resilient and beautiful use of the space.

Katy’s enthusiasm about the ongoing project overflows, she shared, “When I first heard of edible landscaping" I thought, "wow, that's the best idea and such a welcome change from the predictable landscaping that goes into most commercial spaces. Let's do it! Over time, Meghan has gradually changed our gardens, introducing a wide range of edibles that are both beautiful and functional. Our businesses exist synergistically; we both benefit from the work. When I see Meg and her team at work, I feel happy.... Happy that we are doing something that adds value and meaning to our site. We are moving the direction of Meg's vision and it feels great!"

What are they growing at Healthy Living?
A wide variety of edibles—many that might be new to Vermont kitchens!

Meghan has integrated currents, seaberry (or sea buckthorn), honeyberry, hearty kiwi, and grapes into the Healthy Living micro forests and is considering adding cherry and Asian pear trees. Meghan keeps a small nursery of stock for her landscaping in Richmond, VT where she is cultivating perennials that will be particularly interesting to chefs looking to work with new products. Meghan’s vision is to help Vermont chefs and restaurant owners start or expand their gardens into low maintenance edible ecosystems that could introduce sustainable and exciting new food like seakale, yakon, and skirret.

Anyone interested in working with Meghan should reach out to her directly at Meghan@vermontediblelandscapes.com and check out her upcoming workshop Forest Gardens and Commercial Food Forestry Workshop with Eric Toensmeier!

 

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