September 9, 2013
Observation Essay: The Food Forest
Every step a branch whipped past my face, barely missing contact. Insects, poisonous and harmless, landing on my arms, legs and neck. All the while the unbearably hot sun melted my body and its bright rays blinded my vision. Exploring the Florida Gulf Coast University Food Forest was an interesting and frightening experience. An experience that I loved every second of. This 1 ½ acre plot of land captures the passion of the universities students, the beauty of nature, and gives its visitors complete utopian tranquility as they study nature.
As I entered the food forest I saw an enormous tree. This tree was covered in thousands of tiny leaves and an immeasurable amount of insects crawling and inhabiting the tree. For me, this tree was the central idea of the forest; that 1 grand structure can host and sustain an infinite amount of subjects. The tree represents the food forest itself. As I looked at this tree and began to understand more and more about this peaceful place I thought about it on another level. The tree and its ecosystem mirror perfectly the university and the students too. The students being the insects and the campus being the tree. The idea that in 2010 that same plot of land was nothing but marsh is a difficult one to grasp. Another impressive thought is that a group of devoted students brought it from nothing and made it something much greater than they could have imagined. This place and the students who worked from the ground up represents how much an individual or a group of individuals can influence our society.
Past the tree there was a small dirt path that stretched all around the inside of the fence and carved walkways that students of old had used many times. I removed my sandals, put them in my bag, and stepped slowly as muddy dirt squeezed between my toes. Each and every step in that forest brought