A Healthy Makeover — Plans for “edible trail” in the works

If you ever walk along the River Trail in Albion, be prepared for some changes. Albion College professor of geological science Tim Lincoln has a new plan in store.

Along with some student and community assistance, Lincoln would like to grow a trail full of edible plants along the train tracks and throughout the River Trail.

“The plan is to construct an edible forest along this trail, to make the trail more interesting aesthetically, to provide a chance for people to snack and forage for food and also to teach people about permaculture,” Lincoln said.

Albion College student Kristi Kotrapu, Troy sophomore, believes this will be a beneficial project.

“I think it would be really good for the college to see a way to grow things sustainably and organically,” Kotrapu said.

Lincoln wants to show people that a healthy and natural area can be grown to provide. It can give healthy snacks and beauty for people, but also food and shelter for animals. After the initial set-up, the edible trail should require little work. There will be some difficult, long-term jobs like planting trees and maintaining the trail.

“Permaculture is the idea of taking ‘permanent’ and either ‘human culture’ or ‘agriculture,’ but really it’s all three,” Lincoln said. “The idea that you can construct ecologically-balanced plants that can survive with a minimum amount of human interaction, but then it can still provide for the community, is really appealing to me.”

The edible forest needs volunteer work from not only the college, but the Albion community.

“It could be a really cool way to highlight the community, especially since its open to everyone,” said Cassandra Ward, Ann Arbor sophomore.

Lincoln has had many students and student organizations and Albion’s River Committee offer ideas and services.

The trail will be built over the coming years. Native fruits like plums, paw paws and Cornelian cherries will be planted along with berry-bearing shrubbery and nut trees. There will also be native wildflowers and persimmons. It will take seasons of careful planning and care to really get the plants ready and fruitful.

“If you believe in sustainability, you should plant things that will outlast you because the whole point is thinking ahead to future generations,” Lincoln said.

Photo courtesy of BraveNewWorld, Wikimedia Commons

About Hannah Litvan 37 Articles
Hannah is a junior from Mt. Prospect, IL. She is an Art and English double major. She likes her daily jog, and late nights in the ceramics studio.

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