Food Eco District Opens Culinary Garden

A downtown parking lot has been transformed into a welcoming community green space, where local restaurants can grow produce for their menus.

It’s part of the effort by The Food Eco District (FED) to develop a six-block area between downtown and Cook St. Village into a destination for eco-tourism by encouraging a high density of green restaurants and exemplary small businesses, and by incorporating sustainable practices like biking and the culinary garden.
FED, which is led by local entrepreneurs, worked with Oughtred Coffee & Tea and Fort Realty to install the first culinary garden bed in the brick-lain courtyard at Fort & Blanshard, known as Fort Common. Three boxes should be in place this summer. Local restaurants, such as Be Love, La Taquisa and Chorizo & Co, will share it to grow herbs, tomatoes and other vegetables.
“Along with being able to supplement their food requirements with the produce, another benefit is that the garden creates a new space for people visiting their restaurants,” says Jill Doucette, of Synergy Enterprises and director of the Food Eco District Society. “Ideally, when people come into the eco-food district, they’ll have a sense that there is a lot of green space and great publics spaces. It makes it a better experience for the diners.”
Oughtred Coffee & Tea, the corporate sponsor behind this culinary gardens project, has provided the pallets used to construct the garden beds. It’s owner, JP Oughtred, was immediately won over by the idea of FED and keen be involved in the growing project.
“Building this garden is about more than providing fresh food for the restaurants; it is about local businesses working together to create a stronger community,” Oughtred says.