Summary of public input regarding Community Food Forest project at Delki Dozzi, December 2016
*We received 64 responses to the online survey
*More than 90% agreed that the City should allow community groups to do edible planting on city property.
*More than 80% would like to see the community food forest project happen at Delki Dozzi
*Major themes in the comments:
-importance of food security and learning to grow food, make good food accessible to all
-importance of people working together to build community
-concerns about maintaining the project in the long term
-concerns about soil toxicity
-importance of education/community outreach; many suggested signage and involvement of children/youth/schools
-concerns about vandalism
-concerns about wildlife
-concerns about accessibility for those with limited physical mobility
Following from the results of the survey and our public input session, the City has agreed that we can go ahead with plans to plant at the Delki location. In early spring, more detailed plans will be shared with you (everyone who asked to be updated on the project).
To address the main concerns we heard:
Long-term maintenance: Through a grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation, Sudbury Shared Harvest has contracted a project manager. Throughout planting and the 2017 growing season, the Project Manager will coordinate volunteer participation in maintaining the site. Sudbury Shared Harvest plans to apply for additional grants to enable the organization to maintain a project manager on a long-term basis. After the first few years, there should be much less need for maintenance, but Sudbury Shared Harvest intends to take responsibility for maintenance indefinitely.
Soil Toxicity: In early November, members of our planning committee took soil samples from four locations within the proposed site which were sent to the University of Guelph for analysis. Dr. Graham Spiers from Laurentian University has agreed to give us a professional opinion on the results in the near future, but in the meantime, a comparison with provincial standards seems to indicate it will be safe to grow food on the site. We will share more details once we have an expert opinion.
Vandalism: This could of course happen anywhere in the city that we choose to locate the project, but we were pleased to hear from people who have been involved with the community garden at Delki Dozzi that in the 7 years the garden has existed, they only experienced vandalism for the first time in 2016 and it was targeted at the shed, not the plants. Again, we are aware that we may experience vandalism, but we hope that by involving as many people in the project as possible, we can minimize this possibility.
Wildlife: Ah, yes, the bears (and raccoons and ?). As we all know, wildlife can be a problem in any part of the city. Having spoken to many residents with fruit trees over the past few years working with the Fruit for All program, I have found that bears, when given a choice, seem to choose garbage and bird seed over fruit. This is not to say that bears or other wildlife will not raid the food forest once it is mature and producing fruit, but with many other options readily available, they may not. That said, the design team will keep visibility in mind when deciding the layout of the food forest to make it unlikely that humans and bears will meet up unexpectedly.
Accessibility (for those with limited physical mobility): We are looking into wheelchair accessibility. Given the slope and our financial limitations, we cannot promise anything at the moment, but we do have this in mind as we undertake the design and will keep you updated.
Finally, we really appreciate the detailed comments that many of you offered and will be incorporating as many of your ideas and wishes as possible.
Please do get in touch if you have further questions or comments!