Connect with us


Sheridan’s Food Forest

Avatar photo



The Sheridan Food Forest, located in the Thorn-Rider Park, was created in 2016. Food Forests mimic a woodland ecosystem in structure, however, fruiting trees and bushes, perennial vegetables, and herbs are substituted for the usual plantings. In this way the food forest also provides fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to the public.

Rachel Bourgault, Carol LeResche and Pennie Vance with the new benches at the Food Forest

Carol LeResche, member of the Food Forest Committee and the driving force behind Sheridan’s food forest, in an interview on June 28, discussed some of the plants that are currently in the forest. Grapes line the fence around the forest, and perennial food plants include asparagus, cherry trees, strawberry plants, raspberry and gooseberry bushes, pear and apricot trees.

Rachel Bourgault and her husband, Luc, are members of the PRBRC and were at the food forest as well. Bourgaults save seeds for Sheridan’s Seed Library, which will be another story.

Pennie Vance, Power River Basin Resource Council, said that LeResche was the driving force behind the forest, and PRBRC helps the food forest in a couple of ways.


One important part of the Food Forest is the fact that community members can come in and forage fruit and vegetables free of charge. There are different fruits, vegetables and herbs to gather in the forest, depending on the time of year.

Strawberries are ripe now.

It also provides a habitat for beneficial insects. Bees, a major pollinator of crops, are in decline worldwide, due to habitat loss and pesticide use. The food forest is all organic, with no commercial fertilizers or pesticides. She added that the bee count went well this year, with them finding ‘lots of bees’. Weeds are removed by hand and they are always looking for volunteers to help.

She pointed out one plant, comfrey, and talked about the benefits of growing it in the food forest.


LeResche also explained about the no-till garden that is a part of the food forest, and how other gardeners can incorporate it for their gardens. It is a way of making new soil on top of existing soil.


Incorporated as a part of the forest is the ‘mound’ or Hugelkultur’. Last year, the mound was just a big lump of dirt and organic debris. “It is a way to get rid of debris,” LaResche said. “On the bottom are tree stumps, carbon items, leaves, straw, and nitrogen items, like horse manure. Then we put compose over that. It’s a method of imitating the natural establishment of the thick, rich litter soil found in mature forests.” This year the ‘mound’ is rich soil, and is planted with corn, squash, and beans.

The Mound last year

This year the mound grows corn, beans and squash.

Another part of the food forest is the Wyoming thicket, with many of the native plants found through-out Sheridan County, native roses, native plums, service berries, chock cherry, milk weed and others.

It provides food for bees and even birds and rabbits that come by.

“If anyone wants to come down and get involved in the food forest that would be great.” LaResche added. People can come and forage, or volunteer to help with the weeding and the planting.

A small garden shed sits near the entrance of the food forest, with a chalk board and book where people can sign in and leave comments about the forest. Although encouraged, signing in is not mandatory.

Artwork and comments on the chalkboard in the garden shed.

Vance said there is nothing exactly like this in Sheridan, and that the community support is great. We are fortunate to have this here.



  1. Avatar photo

    Katherine Schrock

    July 5, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you to all whom have turned a tough bike track into this beautiful garden. It is a joy to ride the bike trail throughout the spring, summer and fall and take a break with a walk through the paths. It is fun to snitch a berry or two…admire the pollinator flowers and to watch the progress of the fall vegetables grow to full fruition.

  2. Avatar photo

    Ted Lapis

    July 6, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Wow! Looks great!!

    Thank you Carol LaResche &Bob for all of your hard work and leadership. The Food Forest is a really neat accomplishment for Sheridan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *