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The American Chestnut Project and Growing Food Forests in the Eastern Woodlands

The vocabulary of every earth-based culture is shaped by its geographic landscape. Over the past three years, the vocabulary at Antinanco has been greatly influenced by the word "Chestnut."

In the last three months alone, we planted, researched, communed with, celebrated, and embarked on hunting expeditions, along with writing a manuscript about the American Chestnut Tree.

We encountered some incredible people along the way, like Sandra Anagnostakis, an American Chestnut and mycology expert with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station;

Tom Shotzbarger, an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist with the Graver Arboretum; and Susan Hoenig, an ecological artist who raises awareness about the value and beauty of

native trees thought landscape sculptures, with one of them dedicated to the American Chestnut Tree at the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve in Princeton, NJ.

We now have 160 American Chestnut trees under our care, as well as native persimmon and pawpaw trees, and native nitrogen-fixing herbaceous companions. Our trees come from native parents that survived the blight from different parts of the Appalachian forest range, and we hope that the diverse genetics will contribute to greater blight resistance. This season, we also started to inoculate the tree roots with ectomycorrhizal fungi spores, to create a positive impact on curtailing the spread of the chestnut blight. We are hoping to bring this majestic tree back to our forests.

We thank all of the volunteers (150 of them!) who came out to plant with us this season, as well as Columcille Megalith Park, the Land Conservancy of New Jersey and the Ruhe Farm for hosting the trees and helping us to take care of them.

We also thank and Paw Paw Everlast-Label Company for supporting this project.


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