Food Forest Centre Wellington breaks ground at pilot site in Fergus

FERGUS – Volunteers broke ground on a new “food forest” near the community garden at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex, and they are eager to share the potential of this way of growing food.

On Sept. 30, seven volunteers prepared soil for the planting. The process involved covering the planting site with cardboard, and then layering it with compost, followed by thorough watering. 

The idea behind the method is that the cardboard will keep the grass from growing and over time, the cardboard will break down and the grass will die, adding organic matter to the soil. 

Members of the Food Forest Centre Wellington group worked well together, sharing their expertise, officials say.

“The black currants will prefer a more acidic soil,” stated, project lead Kate Anderson, as she tested the soil’s pH level.

Along with soil considerations, the group discussed the needs and placement of each future plant as well as the overall visual appeal of the food forest. 

Evelyn Gould, the team member who admits to having the least gardening experience and plant knowledge, originally joined the group thinking she might help plant a few fruit trees. 

“I had no idea there was so much to learn,” said Gould. “This group has inspired me to add more bio-diversity to my own property.”

Member Sue McPhedran is hoping others in the community will be equally inspired. 

“The small scale food forest could be replicated in backyards,” said McPhedran. “We have seen the community benefits of other food forests and want to bring that to Centre Wellington. It’s a long term investment for a healthier environment.”

“It’s a win-win for people and the environment,” added Anderson.

The pilot food forest will be located east of the Fergus sportsplex next to the community gardens.

Members are grateful for the networking opportunity with the Community Garden Network and township staff, they stated in a press release. 

They are also thankful for growing community interest and many plant donations. 

They look forward to engaging with the community through planting days and food forest educational talks. 

Planting of the food forest will take place next spring. 

To volunteer or learn more contact the organization through Facebook at Food Forest Centre Wellington or email