Transforming a Food Desert into a Food Forest

Chad Gooch is a volunteer with Quad City Food Forest. He is on a mission to provide healthy, affordable food to his lower income community through a community garden first and a food forest in years to come.

Video Transcript

Davenport, Iowa. The residents of West Davenport live in a food desert.

Chad Gooch: I’ve noticed this part of town is a little lower income, so I know it can be hard to afford food.

Access to nutritious food is limited.

Chad: Over the years, I’ve noticed people at the gas station buying beef jerky, Mountain Dew, Doritos, whatever. It kinda made me think there’s gotta be a better option.

Chad and other volunteers are growing food for the community. The garden is always open and free to anyone.

Chad: One thing I love about it is this is all free for anyone. Anybody can come down at any time and pick anything they want, and whatever’s left over at the end of the week, I take to food banks and pantries. The trees will take longer to mature and produce fruit and nuts, but the garden is right here, right now, feeding the community. The people that live in this neighborhood, instead of going to the gas station, they can just turn the other way and come down here and get free food. And maybe discover some food that they’ve never tried.

Becky Schumacher: Plants were my life just in general. On my business card, I don’t own my own business or anything, but I have a business card with my contact info on it. It says your friendly neighborhood plant lady. When you tell somebody that you’re going to volunteer this weekend, they automatically think you’re a saint, because it seems like nobody really has any time anymore.

Chad: With the gardens, you plant a seed or a starter plant, and then a few months later you have food. But, with the trees, you plant them and you have to do all this prep work.

While the garden feeds the present, the forest will feed future generations.

Chad: Coming back here 20 years from now and seeing all these trees grown up, it’ll be a great feeling to know I was a part of it.

Becky: I don’t know what other people see when they drive by this place, they might just see a bunch of dirty hippies messing with their land, but when I drive by this place, I see a bright and beautiful future.

Grow community. Grotto Network

Be in the know with Grotto