What if a food bank distributed not just canned and donated goods, but fresh, organic produce grown right onsite? The Food For Thought (FFT) Food Bank in Forestville, one of OAEC’s Strategic Partners, is doing just that. Their robust one-acre garden—which OAEC Mother Garden Program Director Doug Gosling helped to develop in 1999 and still manages—feeds 675 clients living with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses. Many of the garden’s volunteers are also OAEC garden volunteers.
The FFT garden represents OAEC’s longest collaboration in creating and maintaining an organic “permaculture garden” that contributes to the food security of a needy population. The garden is an integrated project with the food bank in many ways. Its permaculture elements include edible landscaping with extensive plantings of fruit trees, berries and vines; worm boxes that transform waste from the food bank into beautiful castings and compost; and highly diverse, heirloom plant varieties.
The garden is even one of the largest sources of revenue for the food bank, as its gourd patches yield nearly $60,000 a year for FFT! Gourds from the garden are transformed by over 100 artists into beautiful, valuable gourd art that is auctioned off annually at Calabash, a celebration of food, wine, gourd art and live music (played on gourd instruments) that was named Best Fundraiser in Sonoma County by the readers of the North Bay Bohemian for the past three years.
Please join us for this year’s 15th Annual Calabash on Sunday, October 4th (1-5pm) at the Food For Thought Food Bank! OAEC is a proud co-sponsor of this event, which now features book art as well as a choice collection of antiques from Food For Thought Antiques in Sebastopol. We hope to see you there in celebration of FFT’s meaningful work and inspiring garden.
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