To decrease the ecological footprint, the participants of the 4th Baltic Sea Conference on Literacy kindly made a voluntary donation to support the Green Conference concept. In total 350€ were donated to plant an edible forest.

Gaia School, which implements nature-based learning, hosted the conference guests and is an active partner in the establishment of the edible forest. See the blog post from February 7th.

The aim is to establish a community garden near Saku, where both children and adults can learn and observe the establishment and growth of the edible forest. An added value is provided by growing food plants following the principles of permaculture.

A large number of different types of fruit trees were planted last autumn. We have set a goal to make a so-called collection garden with different fruit trees. First, 70 plum trees were planted in a spiral, followed by 80 apple trees, some pear trees and cherries. Various shrubs await their turn, such as edible honeysuckle, red and black currant, Chaenomeles, chokeberries.

With the help of Gaia school students, the first permaculture beds were also built in the garden. In this way, the children gained experience on how to make an excavation-free bed and also the knowledge that nutrient-rich soil can always be created.

The global corona crisis disrupted our plans to celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with a joint planting. However, it was compensated by the 2nd grade, who celebrated the end of the school year in the garden. They visited the garden, studied the flowering fruit trees and listened to a summary of plans for the near future. And, of course, fingers were inserted into the ground. The first plants were planted in beds.

It is planned to test the cooperation of different plants. For example, planted sunflowers, being fast-growing plants, should provide a shade for other plants. Cabbages, common beans, beets, zucchini and cress have also been planted. To diversify the landscape, flowering plants are planted to attract insects and delight the eye, and in the autumn to enrich the birds’ table. It is clear from this list that the plant always performs several functions and thus supports its neighbors. Through practical experience, children learn to notice and become aware of how nature works in very complex interactions.

Last autumn, the vegetable garden received all the leaves collected from the public parks of the entire Saku municipality. This also started the composting and leaf mulching project. Children can see and feel how the leaves become rich compost and how different chemical and physical processes take place.

For children, the work is suitable and interesting, and at the same time also instructive, playful and practical. Gaia’s children take care of their edible forest and are willing to work hard for it. We are grateful to the conference participants for their support and will continue to report on the development of the edible forest.