Growing our food forest on National Arbor Day

On April 27, National Arbor Day, the McClain family will be planting a black maple in honor of their grandson, Aldo McClain at Indian Creek Nature Center. This maple will be one of the newest additions to the food forest. Many native Iowa woodland species are edible. Finding them in the fragmented landscape of today can be challenging. By relying on these edible natives for Indian Creek Nature Center’s food forest, they will be easy to find, identify, and eat by humans while providing habitat for wildlife. Guests will be able to come, learn, harvest, and develop a more intimate connection with the forest around them. In the canopy will be massive trees: shagbark hickories and black walnuts, northern pecans and lindens, mulberries and black cherries.  The understory includes crab apples and paw paws, persimmons and hazelnuts, butternuts and bladdernuts. The shrub layer includes aronia berries and witchhazel, wild rose and red bud, plums and blackberries, elderberries and serviceberries. Grapes ground nut flowers will add to the feast. People once got their food directly from the woods, without the grocery store, the international travel, and the plastic wrap. The native food forest allows people to experience that again.

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