SRFC Backyard Garden – History


Co-op May 2013
Front of the Syracuse Real Food Co-Op (SRFC) at 618 Kensington Rd, Syracuse, NY
The Syracuse Real Food Co-Op (SRFC) is located at 618 Kensington Road. SRFC is co-operatively owned by over 3,000 members, serving as a natural food store operating for the mutual benefit of the community since its founding in 1972.
Overgrown Yard
SRFC’s backyard has served as a meeting space for members and gatherings since approximately 2013.
The area was cleared of dense shrubs after lightning struck a tree that stood in the backyard which motivated debris removing and landscaping.
First Backyard Garden Planning Workshop with Alchemical Nursery

Used as a backyard meeting space, it is also intended as a permaculture garden, initiated in partnership with The Alchemical Nursery Project, Inc. (ANP) – a Syracuse-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to permaculture and serving as Syracuse’s chapter of Food Not Lawns. Design of the garden took place during a workshop hosted on site by ANP.

Planting Bed Next to ‘Backyard Mulch Porch‘ in 2015
It is home to perennial edible plants, including berry patches, small fruit trees, vegetables and herbs. It also includes a mulched ‘patio’ for tents and gatherings, and a stone and wood bench integrated into an herb spiral for co-op customers and community members to sit and enjoy.

The garden site is different from a traditional “community vegetable garden”, usually composed of annual vegetables in raised beds, and allocated to individuals. This difference is both an asset and a challenge. This perennial garden was intended, designed, and developed with the principles of “permaculture” in mind, an innovative system of design centered around learning from and utilizing the patterns and processes of natural ecosystems.

Brendan Rose Starts Herb Spiral Work


The word permaculture refers to both “permanent agriculture” and also to “permanent culture”, being understood (but often forgotten) that people, cultural heritage, and social dynamics are integral to a truly sustainable food production ecosystem.  For a primer on
Permaculture please see: Permaculture Explained

Formation of the SRFC Backyard Stewardship Team (SBST) has began in Spring 2017 based on the Stewardship Model in practice for the Rahma Forest Garden. If you’re interested in the stewardship team please reach out to us at info [at] alchemicalnursery [dot] org for more information. We host regular garden work days where we welcome the community to get involved – please see our SRFC Backyard Stewardship Schedule and come on over to help, and be helped by, the garden!