Monday, March 31, 2014

Winter at the Beacon Food Forest

I first got involved with Seattle's Beacon Food Forest a little over a year ago. Back in December, I wrote an overview of 2013 volunteering with the project. Since then, there's been three monthly work parties this winter. Considering those are usually some of the coldest and wettest months, the turnout and productivity was astonishing. Here's a look back:

January was shockingly warm and beautiful. Plants were planted, trenches dug, stone walls built, ground mulched, tools cared for.
My personal area of most interest is the compost, and in January we prepared the site for the first official compost bin. We leveled and woodchipped while the carpenters finished constructing the lid for the 3-bin compost system.

Lunch was sunny, musical, and delicious, and at the end of the day we realized there had been 150 volunteers. Incredible!

The February work party felt like a more typical winter day with its chilling cold and foreboding clouds. Again, amazing volunteers came and contributed a ton of work. In addition to planting nursery plants, we also started seeding some seeds. I was helping with compost again, as we chopped compost materials and started building up the piles. Then the sky opened up right at lunch time, and it POURED. We huddled under the pop-up tents, drank tea, and accepted that sometime you just have to get wet and muddy.

The March work party was right before the vernal equinox, so it was technically still winter. The weather was pretty nice- not too cold, and only the smallest spatterings of rain. Then it got sunny! I couldn't understand why my face felt so warm when I got home, and it took me awhile to realize that I had gotten a little sunburned! 
The Beacon Food Forest recently installed several beautiful educational signs throughout the site. Extra special about this work party? The artist who designed the signs came up from Portland to be there! Illustrator Molly Danielsson is an artist with a background in science, and specializes in visually representing complex and sometimes technical ideas. Her explanations of biological processes from compost to urban forests are awesome.

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