In May 2009, Daily Acts partnered with the City of Petaluma, Rebuilding Together and Petaluma Bounty to spearhead a water-wise transformation of the city’s Cavanagh Recreation Center. Over 3,500 square of lawn was transformed into a water conserving landscape of food, medicinal, and habitat plants. This incredible effort to sheet-mulch 3,500 square feet of turf is saving tens of thousands of gallons of water and slashing irrigation and maintenance costs at the same time. Over the course of three days 230+ volunteers helped save $60,000 in installation costs.
A couple of months prior to the installation Daily Acts brought in several Permaculture and landscape architecture experts to discuss how to create a food forest (edible landscape that mimics a forest ecology) and the design process took about three weeks. An installation and a logistics team were built to handle the large number of volunteers coming to the site over 3 days. The day before pathways and major design elements were marked in place. The site was divided into 5 sections and teams were assigned. Each team was lead by two experienced landscape professionals, providing an excellent opportunity to learn while doing. Also an opportunity for emerging leaders to teach and speak.
The site was prepped for sheet muching and swales (on-contour drainage basin) were dug. They fill up like a bath tub and allows water to sink into the ground. Four water basins were constructed for the estimated 65,000 gallons of annual overflow. Teams nstalled drip irrigation around 110 plants including some 30 fruit trees.
The community truly came together; youth and elders., business owners and city council members. neighbors and strangers. The site serves as an on-going model for teaching, providing resources and skills.