MA Center Chicago (MACC)

Permaculture Efforts at MA Center Chicago

Food forests produce an abundance of perennial foods by mimicking the patterns of natural forests and local biomes. The MA Center Chicago food forest recently received some TLC in the form of cardboard and straw applied to its hügelkultur mound to help prepare it for planting in the spring. Our food forest was created 4 years ago using hügelkultur and swale techniques designed to create a cooperative, self-maintaining system, and it is still going strong. Hügelkultur is the practice of burying woody material to create a fungal food bank and healthy soil food web. Swales are water harvesting ditches dug on contour to collect and store water in the soil. Our swales passively harvest rainwater from the MA Center South Lodge roof to help build our soil for long-term fertility, which probably accounts for the bounty of delicious raspberries we enjoy every year. This spring, we plan to plant hazelnuts, gooseberry, and elderberry as the shrub layer with native grasses and flowers on the ground layer to provide habitat, keep weeds down, and build the soil in our food forest. If you're interested in our hügelkultur and permaculture efforts, contact us today at chicago@macenters.org to get involved.