Backyard Food Forest Project


Madison Area Community Land Trust is pleased to announce our Backyard Food Forest Project at our house at 1921 Beld Street in Madison. In a food forest you can grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, and other useful plants in a way that mimics natural ecosystems. That means the garden takes care of itself, so you don’t have to spend time weeding it. The home, which is currently for sale, is part of the Madison Area Community Land Trust (MACLT). The land trust model offers affordable homes to current and future generations. Together, the land trust model and a backyard food forest, provide an affordable, sustainable lifestyle that makes families and community more resilient especially in hard times.

“The urban agriculture approach at our award-winning Troy Gardens cohousing project is very popular,” says MACLT board member, Joann Kelley. “People understand that growing your own food makes sense. Not only do you get tasty, fresh food, it also means you do not have to solely depend upon food shipped to Madison from across the country or across the globe. The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is reminding us just how fast our security can be shaken. Local food is part of being a sustainable and resilient community, and a food forest helps us to bounce back from ecological disasters and hard times.”

In the land trust model the homeowner buys the house but borrows the land,” explains MACLT executive director, Michael Carlson. “It is typically the cost of land that drives up housing costs. The Madison Area Community Land Trust buys the land on behalf of the homeowner and keeps it in a trust. Because they don’t have to purchase the land, MACLT homebuyers have lower mortgages, they pay less in mortgage interest, and they enjoy lower property taxes. The program works, and a typical Land Trust homeowner could expect to save up to $100,000 over the life of a 30 year mortgage loan. This helps all of the time but especially during hard times.”

MACLT will offer Dane County Time Bank “time dollars” to Time Bank member that participate in the food forest installation. For information about the Dane County Time Bank visit their website:

We thank the Kailo Fund for making this demonstration of tools for sustainable, resilient living possible in our community.