April and early May is the time for Spokane Gives Month in the beautiful city of Spokane. Spokane Gives Month presents an opportunity for community members to give back by participating in volunteer projects throughout the city. The initiative is generously put on by our friends over at United Way Spokane.
On May 5th, 2018, Spokane Edible Tree Project participated in the initiative by hosting a Food Forest Planting Event with Friends of Polly Judd at Polly Judd Park in an effort to build up the long time dream of having a Food Forest in the heart of the park.
With the help of native shrub donations from the Spokane Conservation District, a Spokane Gives Initiative Grant from Spokane County United Way, and the hard work of a volunteer crew, 14 edible trees and shrubs were added to the Polly Judd Food Forest. Two filbert, two apricot, five native elderberries and five native Saskatoon serviceberries were planted.
The sod was cut from the ground as the first step, followed by the digging of holes at proper depth. This was not always easy. Rocks had to be broken, which were removed from the soil and repurposed as rock mulch for the Polly Judd native pollinator garden. The rocks were also used to begin creating a rock wall around the garden. When the holes were finally dug, the trees were placed in the Earth, surrounded with the field soil, and wood chips were placed around the trees to act as a mulch.
The Polly Judd Food Forest is also part of the The Susie Forest Foundation. Susie was an avid cyclist and activist for pedestrian rights. Tragically, she was killed in a motor vehicle accident 15 years ago while actively pursuing her mission to create positive change in this world. Her mother, Nancy MacKerrow, lives in the lower south hill neighborhood in Spokane. After Susie’s death, she set up a Susie Forest Foundation to honor her by planting trees as a way of bringing back life from a tragic situation. Two plum trees and a linden tree were planted in her honor at the Polly Judd Earth Day Celebration in 2018, which Spokane Edible Tree project was honored to be a part of. As a dedication, community members wrote their hopes down on paper and hung them on the branches of the trees. The sentiment is that the hopes of the community will eventually biodegrade into the soil, alchemizing them to become one with the tree.