City of Harrisburg Environmental Advisory Council

City of Harrisburg Environmental Advisory Council City of Harrisburg Environmental Advisory Council was created for the purpose of discussing and diss

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No waste gardening
35 Perennial Herbs To Plant Once & Enjoy For Years

No waste gardening

Herb gardening is a fantastic gateway into gardening for those who are new to growing their own. There are many herbs you can easily grow even if you don't have a garden at all. All



If you’ve ever wandered back roads in a developing, tropical country, you know that many of the locals grow much of their own food. You might also have noticed that their food gardens aren’t comprised entirely of small annual vegetables planted in straight rows like ours are. They are typically wild-looking plantings of edible trees, shrubs, vines, and ground covers all mingling effortlessly together, as if Mother Nature had planted the garden according to her own design. These are literally forests of food.

Forest gardening has been the standard for millennia in many tropical regions, but it’s possible in more temperate climes as well. A British chap by the name of Robert Hart first popularized the concept among European and North American gardeners with the publication of his book Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape in the 1980s. Food forests have also figured prominently in the permaculture movement, an approach to designing agricultural systems that mimic natural ecosystems.

Why Food Forests?
Food forests are like the ultimate organic garden. Does a forest need tilling, weeding, fertilizer, or irrigation? Nope. And that’s the goal.

Because they’re mostly perennial crops, there’s no need to till. Not tilling preserves the natural soil structure, preventing the loss of topsoil and allowing all the little microbes and soil critters to do their jobs, cycling nutrients and maintaining fertility. The deep roots of trees and shrubs make them much more drought tolerant than annual vegetables, and they shade the smaller plants below, keeping everything lush and moist in a self-maintaining—in other words, a highly sustainable—system.

The first step in establishing a food forest is to choose your plants. The largest plants will reach into the sun, so most common fruiting trees and shrubs are fair game. The smaller plants generally need to be more shade tolerant, as they will be in the under story. But you can leave sunny patches here and there—like little forest clearings—to accommodate species that need more light (though see Step 3 for a trick to make the most of the available sunlight).

Winter is the ideal time to get started, because most edible trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants can be purchased and planted while dormant, which is better for the plants—and for your bank account. That’s because at this time of year they are sold in “bare root” form—meaning without soil or a pot—which gives the roots a more natural structure and costs less for nurseries to produce. Bare root plants are typically ordered in January or February, for planting in early March, or as soon as the ground thaws in your area. Naturally, you’ll want to stick with species that are well-adapted to your region.

CANOPY: This layer is primarily for large nut trees that require full sun throughout the day, such as pecans, walnuts, and chestnuts, all of which mature to a height of 50 feet or more.

UNDER STORY TREES: This layer is for smaller nut trees, like filberts, and the majority of fruit trees. The most shade tolerant fruit trees include native North American species like black mulberry, American persimmon and pawpaw, though many other fruit trees will produce a respectable crop in partial shade.

Vines: Grapes, kiwis, and passion fruit are the most well-known edible vines, though there are many other more obscure specimens to consider, some of which are quite shade tolerant, such as akebia (edible fruit), chayote (a perennial squash), and groundnuts (perennial root crop). Kolomitka kiwi, a close relative of the fuzzy kiwis found in supermarkets, is among the most shade-tolerant vines.

SHRUBS: A large number of fruiting shrubs thrive in partial shade, including gooseberries, currants, service berries, huckleberry, elderberry, aronia, and honey berry, along with the “super foods” sea berry and goji. Blackberry and Blueberry bushes will work well here in the U.S.

HERBACEOUS PLANTS: This category includes not only plants commonly thought of as herbs—rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender, mint and sage are a few of the top perennial culinary herbs to consider for your forest garden—but is a catch-all term for all leafy plants that go dormant below ground in winter and re-sprout from their roots in spring. This layer is where perennial vegetables, like artichokes, rhubarb, asparagus and “tree collards” fit in.

GROUND COVERS: These are perennial plants that spread horizontally to colonize the ground plane. Edible examples include alpine strawberries (a shade tolerant delicacy), sorrel (a French salad green), nasturtiums (has edible flowers and leaves), and watercress (requires wet soil), all of which tolerate part shade.

RHIZOSPERE: This refers to root crops. It’s a bit misleading to call it a separate layer, since the top portion of a root crop may be a vine, shrub, ground cover or herb, but it’s Hart’s way of reminding us to consider the food-producing potential of every possible ecological niche. Most common root crops are sun-loving annuals, however so you’ll have to look to more obscure species, such as the fabled Andean root vegetables oca, ulluco, yacon, and mashua, for shade-tolerant varieties.

Choose an open, sunny location for your forest garden. It can be as small as 100 square feet—a single fruit tree and an assortment of understory plants—or multiple acres. At the larger, commercial-scale end of the spectrum, forest gardening is often referred to as agroforestry. A number of tropical crops, including coffee and chocolate, are grown commercially in this way, though commercial agroforestry is uncommon in North America (other than in the context of timber plantations).

Unlike preparing for a conventional vegetable garden, there is no need to till the earth and form it into beds in preparation for a forest garden. Instead, dig a hole for each individual plant, just as if you were planting ornamental shrubs and trees. However, if the soil quality is poor, you may wish to “top-dress” the entire planting area with several inches of compost prior to planting.

One situation in which raised beds are desirable in a food forest is where drainage is poor. But rather than make the effort to construct conventional raised beds from wood, you may opt to sculpt the earth into low, broad mounds at the location of each tree. Smaller plants may then be positioned along the slopes of the mounds. A variation on this approach is to sculpt the earth into long linear “swales,” which consist of a raised berm (to provide a well-drained planting location) and a broad, shallow ditch (to collect rainwater runoff and force it to percolate into the soil beneath the planting berm).

You will need to eliminate any weeds, grass or other existing vegetation prior to planting. This can be done manually, or by smothering them under a “sheet mulch,” a permaculture tactic in which sheets of cardboard are overlaid with several inches of mulch on top of the vegetation, starving the plants for light and causing them to compost in place. Compost may be added as a layer between the cardboard and the mulch to add extra nutrients. Permaculturists often employ sheet mulching in conjunction with swales to enhance the area prior to planting.

When you’re ready to plant, simply brush aside the mulch and cut holes in the cardboard just big enough to dig a planting hole at the location of each plant. Then slide the mulch back around the newly installed plant. Maintaining a deep mulch is the key to preventing weeds, conserving soil moisture and boosting organic matter—all things that will help your food forest be self-maintaining and self-sufficient
Step 3: PLANT
The next step is to arrange your plants in the landscape. Position the tallest species (i.e. the ‘canopy’ plants) at the northern end of the planting area, with progressively smaller plants toward the southern end. This way the taller plants will cast less shade on the smaller ones, especially at the beginning and end of the growing season when the days are shorter and the sun hangs lower in the sky.

Of course, truly shade tolerant plants may be interspersed throughout the understory of the forest garden. You might even consider cultivating mushrooms in the shadiest zones once the large trees have matured. Edible vines may be planted on any accessible fences, arbors, or walls, and you can also train vines up trees, just like Mother Nature does—just be sure the tree is significantly larger than the vine to avoid the tree getting smothered.

The edges of the food forest are suitable for sun-loving annual vegetables, if you wish to include them. Also, keep in mind that it takes decades for large tree to reach their mature size, so in the early years of a food forest there is ample sunlight. Plant sun-loving species in the open spaces between trees and then replace them with more shade-tolerant plants as the forest matures. Good info by Modern Farmer

Good Healthy HEIRLOOM SEEDS will make all the difference when you want to get a good start on your Food Forest. At THE SEED GUY, we have a great Heirloom Seed package that has 60 Heirloom Seed Varieties, 34,000 total Seeds, all Non GMO and Sale Priced Now at $69

You get 49 Veggie varieties and 11 Herb Seed varieties. You would definitely be able to Feed Your Family with this Seed package, and you can store the Seeds you don't use right away in the 10 x 14 silver mylar bag we provide. All Heirloom Seeds are Small Farm-Grown, we hand count and package to make sure you get the best germination, and they are fresh from the New 2021 Harvest.

You can see Seed varieties and Order this Seed package on our website at

You can Call Us 7 days a week, and up to 10:00 pm each night, to ask questions or to place an Order at 918-352-8800

***FYI--We still have good stock in our Heirloom Seeds, but we got behind from so many orders, so just had to shut sales down for a few days to catch up on packaging and shipping. Linda will post more of our 60 Variety Heirloom Seed package for sale on Friday March 18th at 9;00. Thank you.

Click LIKE at the top of our page, and you will be able to see more of our great Gardening Articles, New Seed Offerings, and Healthy Juice Recipes. Thank you and God Bless You and Your Family.


The Environmental Advisory Council meeting scheduled for Thursday December 2nd has to be cancelled as there is no longer a quorum for the city board. Accordingly, there is a need for new members so if you are interested please consider reaching out!

A good opportunity to learn about resource available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection coming...
Grants, Loans, and Rebates

A good opportunity to learn about resource available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection coming up soon. Also a reminder that the EAC meetings have reverted back to in-person at the Public Works Building, 1820 Paxton St Harrisburg, PA 17104. Still the first Thursday at 6pm.

If your environmental improvement project needs funding, DEP can help. We offer 31 grant and rebate programs to support a range of projects to improve or protect the water, land, and air in Pennsylvania.


Due to schedule conflicts with Environmental Advisory Council members the October meeting has to be cancelled. Related to this and in accordance with the Sunshine Act EAC meetings will return to in-person meetings at the Public Works building at 1820 Paxton Street in November.


The regularly scheduled EAC meeting for tonight is cancelled. There are not currently any changes to the normal schedule for the Oct. meeting and we hope to see you then!


There is a 100% chance our area will receive rain when Tropical Depression Ida moves into our area. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for streams and low-lying urban areas from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning.

CRW, Harrisburg Bureau of Fire, and Harrisburg Department of Public Works are working together to minimize the impacts of Tropical Depression Ida. As a part of the joint effort, our customer service team is working extended hours fielding calls while our crews are working additional shifts to make sure our stormwater inlets are free of debris and the system is prepared for impending rain. If you see trash covering an inlet and want to do something, use a rake to clear the inlet and bag the debris.

Our crews are committed to responding to every call that comes into our customer service center concerning this week’s storm. If there is remaining flooding on your street hours after the storm has passed, call our Customer Service team at 888-510-0606. We are making every effort to resolve issues efficiently and effectively within our collection system. We will continue working until all service calls have been addressed.

Hopefully you can open this important article on federal support for tree planting in environmental justice communities.
Infrastructure Bill Boosts Equity Focus for Urban Tree Plantings

Hopefully you can open this important article on federal support for tree planting in environmental justice communities.

U.S. cities that have been forced to rely on nonprofit groups and corporations to drive tree-planting efforts and boosting their urban “canopy” could soon get a new ally—the federal government.

Long but interesting interview with Robert Bullard on environmental justice.
Dr. Robert Bullard: 'We Don't Have 40 Years' to Fight for Climate Justice

Long but interesting interview with Robert Bullard on environmental justice.

The 'father of environmental justice' discusses the legacy of his work, how systemic racism in agriculture is tied to the larger injustices faced by Black and brown communities, and what brings him hope in this moment.

On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted in the Federal Register a request for information tit...
Identifying Barriers in USDA Programs and Services; Advancing Racial Justice and Equity and Support for Underserved Communities at USDA

On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted in the Federal Register a request for information titled, “Identifying Barriers in USDA Programs and Services; Advancing Racial Justice and Equity and Support for Underserved Communities at USDA” (86 FR 32013). USDA announced it is seeking input to identify difficulties in accessing USDA services and remedy systemic inequities experienced by underserved communities, individuals, and people of color and that it plans to establish a Racial Equity Commission which will be informed by the comments. The comment period is open until July 15, 2021.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requesting input from the public on how it can advance racial justice and equity for underserved communities as part of its implementation of Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal...

EPA Announces White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) 2021 Public Meetings SeriesThe EPA has confirm...
White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council | US EPA

EPA Announces White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) 2021 Public Meetings Series

The EPA has confirmed dates for the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) public meetings. The meetings are open to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments relevant to the specific issues being considered by WHEJAC.

These meetings are being held on April 28, 2021 and May 13, 2021 from approximately 2:00pm – 6:00pm (ET). Registration is REQUIRED.

Individual registration is required for each of the virtual public meetings. Information on how to register is located at . Registration for the meetings is available through the scheduled end time of each meeting day. Registration to speak during the public comment period will close 11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, one (1) week prior to meeting date.

Agenda: The meeting discussion will focus on several topics including, but not limited to the discussion and deliberation of draft recommendations to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the White House Interagency Council on Environmental Justice from the Justice40 Work Group, Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool Work Group and Executive Order 12898 Work Group.

The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) has been established pursuant to Executive Order 14008, titled Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

EPA Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series: Featuring the Climate Safe Neighborhood PartnershipRedlini...

EPA Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series: Featuring the Climate Safe Neighborhood Partnership

Redlining data was key to Groundwork Trusts’ community organizing efforts to secure climate provisions in Richmond, Virginia’s master plan, green infrastructure in Elizabeth, NJ, and other public policy advances. Linking evidence of structural racism to current environmental conditions provides a powerful tool for communities working for transformative change.

Learn about the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership and how youth in two of Groundwork’s Trusts, Groundwork Hudson Valley, and Groundwork Richmond, VA, and other places are leading the way in working closely with residents and stakeholders to organize, mobilize, and effect systems change to make communities more resilient to extreme heat and flooding.

Cate Mingoya, Groundwork USA
Melissa Guevara, Groundwork Richmond, Virginia
Victor Medina, Groundwork Hudson Valley
Moderated by Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor for Environmental Justice, EPA
Date and Time: May 5, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

Register Here:

The first five sessions will focus on redlining and current environmental challenges. Future topics will include: Title VI and civil rights program, EJ research and analysis, rural inequities, and others. Suggestions are welcomed. Registration information for each session forthcoming.

For more information, please visit the session registration page or contact Charles Lee ([email protected]) or Sabrina Johnson ([email protected]).

For up-to-date information about Environmental Justice funding opportunities, events, and webinars, subscribe to EPA's Environmental Justice listserv by sending a blank email to: [email protected].



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Updated EAC meeting Login Information:
Christopher Nafe is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: EAC Meeting December
Time: Dec 3, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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City of Harrisburg Environmental Advisory Council
Virtual Meeting Reminder: City of Harrisburg Environmental Advisory Council on October 1 at 6:00 p.m.
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Harrisburg River Rescue and Emergency Services NRA Group, LLC d/b/a National Recovery Agency Case Management Unit Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg PA Climate Caucus Office of Victim Advocate Pennsylvania Parole Board Dauphin County Coroner's Office Governor Wolf's Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Parks and Recreation, City of Harrisburg Harrisburg Housing Authority The Arc of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Family Network PHRC Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission PA Infrastructure Investment Authority - PENNVEST