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ABOUT US

It is our goal to create a gardening community where people can come together to learn how to grow their own food, overcome the challenges of high desert gardening, to eat healthily, experience and use alternate growing methods, partake in a community gardening experience, and share their knowledge with one another. We are looking forward and into the future where our community can grow together.


We hope to expand our project into an area wide farm and, working together with other local farmers, create a more sustainable food supply system featuring locally sourced products to improve the
health and well being of everyone living in Yavapai County.

We see the difficult growing conditions in the Prescott area as an opportunity to teach others how to grow their own food and the values we experience in the process, a willingness to collaborate, to be held accountable, and to simply reconnect with one another as a way of experiencing the unity that holds our community together.

Q and A

Find some great questions from our community members here! Submit your own questions under the Contact tab!

  • What components will actually be at the Prescott Food Forest site?  

    • Greenhouse:  size?  

      • The greenhouse size that we have in mind for this plot will be 30x40 feet and this will be the space in which we feature our year-round harvest that will include high demand produce such as tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, mesclun, beans, eggplant, kale, peas, radicchio, strawberries, and spinach to name a few! Using resourceful, water-saving and practical methods such as tower gardens, deep water culture, and drip systems, we will be able to efficiently produce lots of great produce on a fraction of the water that would be needed using conventional growing methods as well as offer these great items all-year round.  

 

  • Raised beds:  what size and how many?  What will they be made of?

    • We are striving to install 40 (4’x8’ beds, some in 4’x4’ doubles) raised beds on the proposed property. These beds will vary in materials and size as we are going to showcase several different bed-building methods. With our focus on education, we want the community to be able to see different kinds of beds and they will be able to experience first-hand how each bed feels and which type of bed might be best for them. While some people might enjoy the ease of building a small pine box, others may opt for a cinder block bed as high as their waist to ease the task of bending. With so many varying needs in our community it is important to us to show that gardening is something that is accessible to all of us. We plan to showcase several bed types including untreated woods (pine, redwood), cinderblock, natural stone, patio pots, and more! The beds will generally cover an area of 4x4 to 4x8 feet and will vary in height.

 

  • In ground community garden:  overall size of plot? Pathway materials?

    • The community garden plot area has been planned as a 50x50 area to begin with, and we hope to expand it in the future. This area will be rows of tilled earth lined in the walkways between the tills with strips of landscaping fabric and covered with sawdust or other easily compostable material. We will not be installing rock, gravel or permanent pathways because we want to keep the area as close to nature as possible. Using the landscaping fabric is an excellent way to prevent weeds from growing, allows water to seep through it, can be easily removed and repaired, and by covering it with natural and easily compostable materials, we will be at ease when the material becomes incorporated into the soil around it.

 

  • Fruit and nut tree orchard:  size of area, estimated number, size, and types of trees?

    • The forest itself is estimated to be approximately the same size as the community garden or even larger. We want to plant trees that we know to be fruitful in this climate such as apple, pomegranate, plum, peach, apricot and other such hardy varieties. These trees may vary in size but each tree will be given ample space around it to grow into, we are estimating 20-25 trees in the 50x50+ foot area. We would also like to add edible landscaping to the area and plant hardy perennials such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, blueberries, lavender, mint, jasmine, and other such plants beneath the trees. We want to create a space that looks very much like a forest with the added benefit of being edible, beautiful, productful and a refuge for our pollinators. 

 

  • Will there be a composting area to reuse/recycle garden debris?

    • We look forward to creating a compost heap but we will need to have that addressed by the city because of our close proximity to the lake and our concern of rainwater runoff. As of now we do not have plans to have composting on site. We may sooner look into partnering with the Prescott composting effort already in place.

 

  • Will there be storage areas for tools and supplies in proximity to the areas requiring such?

    • Yes, we do have two storage sheds currently planned in our layout that are both located next to, and on either side of, the community garden and raised bed areas.  

 

  • Will there be areas for individuals to sit throughout the garden beyond the proposed amphitheater?

    • Yes, we plan to have benches (hopefully all made by YEI) throughout the area for our visitors and gardeners to relax on. 

 

QUESTIONS REGARDING VENDORS & BUILDERS

  • Will the building materials be purchased from local vendors?

    • We would love to support local vendors whenever possible. We are very excited to build relationships within our community and support our local businesses. 

 

  • Will local contractors, builders and installers be hired to complete the work?

    • Yes. While we have a lot of volunteers eager to begin helping with what they can, we know that there are some things that we need done properly and professionally so we plan to hire professionals to help us keep structures up to code and help with the heavy lifting. 

 

QUESTIONS REGARDING ACCESSIBILITY

  • Will the garden be accessible per ADA Guidelines?

    • Yes. The overall area is already very level and we plan to keep it as such. For the amphitheater area we will install graceful sloping paths as needed for easy access of all our community members. Our local contractors and builders will be the ones for the job!

  • Will the parking be available in close proximity to the garden?  What surface will the parking area be?

    • The parking area will be just outside the fence of the garden area. It is currently a dirt lot and is well graded and continuous to the garden area within the fence. It will be covered with asphalt millings.  Our community members should be able to park and venture in with ease. 

 

QUESTIONS RELATING TO COST

  • What hours will it be open to the public without a fee?

    • The garden will always be accessible without a fee during its normal hours with the exception of special events. Everyone from the community will be welcome to come in and see what we are doing without an entrance fee. The only fees that will be associated will likely be those of renting a plot, attending specific events and classes, purchasing produce/products, and sponsorships. 

 

  • What will the rental costs be for the raised beds?  

    • The rental cost of the plots will be $50 for a 4x4 bed and $100 for a 4x8 bed. Each bed will include soil and its own drip/ soaker hose system. This makes planting easy, fun and our gardeners will have the ease of knowing that their gardens will be watered daily on an automatic system.

 

  • Will your vegetable prices be similar to the Farmers’ Market vendors?

    • Yes, we do not want to undercut the local farmers or create too much competition for them. It is more likely that we will be mostly selling directly to restaurants through our produce grown in the greenhouse and some small plots. Most of what will be grown outside of the greenhouse will be in the community area and personal garden plots and so not sold by us. We will be collecting extra produce from the community area and donating it to local nonprofits that handle food distribution to the community such as Prescott Meals on Wheels and local food banks.

 

  • Will EBT cards from the AZ Dept of Economic Security be accepted and will you double the SNAP benefits as does the Prescott Farmers Market?

    • While we love the EBT and SNAP program, it is likely that for now we will purchase a booth space and take our extra produce to the Prescott Farmers Market where community members can use their EBT cards through the market itself. We would love to offer this service in the future but our immediate plans are focused and centered around providing education, establishing relationships with our community partners, providing fresh locally grown produce to local restaurants, as well as providing food to those in need free of charge. 

 

  • Will free “how to” gardening classes be offered?  

    • Yes, we plan to offer a lot of free basic classes (listed below). The classes that will have a charge will be advanced classes and those offered by guest speakers, chefs, and Master Gardeners. All of our basic and intro gardening classes will be free and offered several times each month for the duration of the growing seasons.

 

  • Will cooking classes be free?  If not, what is the anticipated cost?

    • While most of our cooking classes will have a charge, we will have some basic garden fresh preparation classes that will be free as well. The free classes may include basic directions on how to harvest your food from the garden, clean your produce, what to look out for when inspecting your produce, and how to prepare the fruits and vegetables. Classes that will show our members how to easily use the vegetables from their garden for dishes like salads, pastas, and more may be in the neighborhood of $20 per class or more/less depending on the materials needed, time allotment, and skill level of the instructor. A class that is focused on a vegetable dish will be less expensive than one that features more complex and expensive methods and ingredients such as locally grown meats. More in-depth classes such as canning, baking and preservation may also incur higher costs.  

 

QUESTIONS RELATED TO WATER

  • How will those who rent the raised beds irrigate their plots?

  • There will be drip and soaker hose systems running to each bed that will be automated and water plants daily during the growing months.  We will also have several spigots and hoses available throughout the garden that gardeners can use to provide additional watering as needed.

 

  • How will you monitor water use for the raised beds?

    • The drip system will have timers throughout to ensure proper and direct watering without waste.

 

  • How will water be directed from the proposed rainwater harvesting cistern to the raised beds, orchard, and community garden space?

    • Water harvesting will be a phase two project that will coincide with the completion of the green house and our other building structures. We plan to collect the rainwater runoff from our large  greenhouse structure to be stored in the cistern and then pumped up to the surface where gardeners can use the attached hose to water the plants.

 

  • How will the community garden and orchard be watered?  

    • The entire property will have master drip lines to cover all areas of growth. Each will be on timers to ensure proper hydration without water waste.

 

  • Will mulching be used where appropriate to minimize water loss through evaporation?

    • Yes, mulching is an integral part of gardening in our arid climate and its use will allow the soil to stay hydrated for much longer periods of time while also helping to shield plant’s roots from excessive temperatures and dehydration of the soil. The mulch materials that we will likely use will be sawdust, woodchips, pine needles, grass clippings and leaf litter as these sources are natural, compost well and will help to build fantastic soil with every passing season.

 

QUESTIONS RELATED TO OVERSIGHT OF VISITORS

  • Will there be an entry where folks are greeted and given a brochure for the Food Forest?

    • Yes. We have a gate that will serve as our entrance and we plan to have information available there for our guests.

 

  • How will individuals be prevented from picking fruit from the orchard, or vegetables from the community garden and privately rented plots?

    • This project will largely be based on the honor system of our guests and while we will have the rules posted and we will discourage people from breaking the rules, there will only be so much we can do. It will really be down to the garden plots that will need the most supervision as we plan to allow community members to collect from the forest and community areas. We will, however, have limits on each type of food that they can harvest and take home such as 5lbs of orchard fruit, 10 lbs of squash/ melons, etc. per day, so as to prevent people from taking a lot of produce for themselves all at once. 

 

  • How will children and perhaps adults be discouraged from walking over planting beds in the community garden?

    • We will have the rules posted, signs with graphics for those who cannot read and we will try our best to monitor our guests. 

 

  • How will the site be monitored overnight when not staffed?

    • The site is completely enclosed by a tall fence and will be locked in the evenings and off-hours. 

WATER USAGE AND ESTIMATED NEED

 

According to the University Of California UCCE Master Gardener Program, each large 4’x8’ garden bed (or two 4’x4’ beds) will use approximately .625 gallons per square foot or 20 gallons of water per week in the highest and driest part of the summer. In the summer, we estimate that if all of the garden beds are in use (1,280 sq ft) then the total water usage for the beds will be approx 800 gallons of water per week for four weeks for a total of 3,200 gallons.

 

The community garden area is estimated to use .623 gallons daily per square foot over 250 square feet. This comes out to an average of 156 gallons per day. In four weeks the total water used will be about 4,368 gallons.

The forest area, when it contains (50) young fruit trees, will need to start with only 2 gallons per tree per week, totaling 100 gallons per week in their early development. With their added shrubs and other under-growth neighbors we can increase the estimate by another 2 gallons per week per tree. Over four weeks this total will be about 800 gallons.

 

The greenhouse will be utilizing tower style aeroponic growing methods and according to towerfarms.com, each tower will use approx. 1 gallon of water per day for up to 44 plants in each tower. We hope to install 40 towers for an average of 40 gallons per day and a total of 1,120 gallons per four weeks.

The estimated total water usage for a dry summer month is approximately 9,488 gallons

 

We will also have hoses available for gardeners to wash their hands and produce as well as to add extra water as needed to their garden beds as well as water for bathrooms and eventually a kitchen. 

 

According to EPA.gov, the average family household uses 300 gallons of water per day for an average of 8,400 gallons per four weeks.

This garden is projected to use less water than the needs of two family households!