Gleaning Garden to add Foraging Forest

The Gleaning Garden provides fresh fruits and vegetables for people in need. (Submitted photo)
The Gleaning Garden provides fresh fruits and vegetables for people in need. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

The Gleaning Garden is developing a Foraging Forest along the Monon Trail in Carmel.

Andrew Fritz, Gleaning Garden co-founder and co-director with his wife Amanda, said he believes it is Indiana’s first public foraging forest. Fritz describes the forest as a power line right of way that no one has maintained. He said they will plant food for humans and animals, but it will take a few years to grow.

“It’s a unique concept in terms of the Midwest. This is something you find in the Northwest or Northeast,” Fritz said. “To my knowledge, nobody has specifically designed a foraging forest in Indiana. There is a wooden area adjacent to the vegetable garden that we will begin planting and preparing for some forest food. That would be for people to forage, but the overwhelming majority of the harvest is to be donated to a food pantry in Carmel.”

The Gleaning Garden started in March 2013. Gleaning is the practice of leaving food behind in a harvest so those less fortunate can collect food to meet their needs. It is an open garden for people to forage, and food is donated to a food pantry. The garden includes several kinds of berries, currants and kiwi, along with a variety of garden vegetables.

The garden and forest are on a plot of land near the Monon Square shopping center, behind the Union Brewing Company and SoHo Cafe.

Fritz said it will take some time for the plants in the forest to grow, and he said those foraging from the garden are supposed to take only what they need for that day.

“They can’t take any more than what they need,” Fritz said.

“Any of the money that has been donated, we give to another charitable organization or to a family or individual who has long-term school or medical debt,” Fritz said.

Fritz said it’s up to the individuals to come out and see when plants are ready to harvest.

“We’ll have signage when spinach is ready or beets are ready and so on,” he said.