Volunteer Spotlight – Daniel Schenk

Volunteer Daniel Schenk planting at Boston Nature Center

Daniel Schenk is a deeply committed volunteer for the Boston Food Forest Coalition (BFFC) at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center (BNC). The BFFC is a group of volunteer stewards working to establish a public food forest network throughout the city of Boston with BNC as the flagship site. 

Daniel led the groundbreaking of the food forest’s BNC site in April 2014, and since then he has accomplished an astounding amount of work to organize, design, and create the food forest with over 200 volunteers. This year the team, led by Daniel and including BNC’s Youth Leaders, are ambitiously working to raise one ton of food for distribution in the community.

Daniel’s volunteer work focuses on urban planning and food-access concerns in Boston neighborhoods. By engaging the surrounding community, Daniel and the BFFC connect urban youth and adults to spaces for outdoor recreation, provide opportunities to grow and share food, and promote urban biodiversity and healthful eating habits. 

He leads efforts with community work groups and creates innovative models in permaculture. Permaculture is based on patterns found in nature to maximize yields while reducing maintenance, ultimately produce sustainable, edible habitats. Daniel has led and educated hundreds of local volunteers in site preparation, planting, and permaculture workshops while thousands of Boston Nature Center campers and Boston Public School students have helped with planting and harvesting. With Daniel’s involvement, the BFFC hopes to expand to three additional sites in the next year.

As a gardener and cook who lives in Jamaica Plain, Daniel keeps up on all things urban-planning and food-access related, sees the connections between people and natural spaces, and loves reinforcing the bonds we share with nature through science.