Community Agroforestry for Restoring the Environment
After being approached by Rushville-Gordon High School administrators for diverse methods on how to collaborate, a team of Sandhills Institute artists in conjunction with Richard Straight of the USDA National Agroforestry Center proposed several projects, among them a community food forest on school grounds. A community food forest uses agroforestry, a combination of agricultural and forest based methods, to provide food, ecological education, and recreation to a group of people.
Second year artist in residence Jorge Menna Barreto, who collaborated on an Amazonian food-forest centered art project entitled Restauro or Restoration in 2017, worked closely with Richard Straight to develop local plants and agroforestry techniques that would work in the Sandhills of Nebraska. These plants included native species such as hazelnut trees, elderberries, American plum, and Prairie crab apple.
In addition to serving as an educational tool for Rushville-Gordon High School students, a food forest can be an example for local ranchers and farmers that demonstrates economically viable agroforestry techniques that maximizes the use of their shelter-belts.