Over the past five years, my work has taken me on a path of designing and building labyrinths: spaces for ritual and contemplation. From traditional designs steeped in history to a labyrinth sculpture blending symbolism with functionality, each project has been unique. However, it's in a recent commission – a food forest labyrinth in a sculpture park – where I've found convergence in this work.
Combining a drive to cultivate sustainable foodways with the important symbolism of the labyrinth, a food forest labyrinth is a living and breathing reflection of connections: to ecologies, one another, and to the currents of human histories.
At first glance, a food forest labyrinth resonates as a maze of greenery, with winding paths leading travelers through berries and fruit trees. Yet, upon closer inspection, its ritual significance becomes apparent.
The labyrinth itself has a rich history, dating back thousands of years and spanning numerous cultures. It has been used as a tool for meditation, a symbol of spiritual pilgrimage, a part of myth-making, and a metaphor for life. By integrating this symbol into a landscape designed in a sculpture park for food, people engage in a multifaceted experience that encompasses physical sustenance, mental stimulation, and spiritual contemplation.
Walking the paths of a food forest labyrinth scupture becomes a full practice; the labyrinth asks people to navigate its pathways with intention and awareness. It reminds me that I'm a steward and a learner. As I harvest fruits and herbs along the way, I can be nourished not only by the food I gather but also by the deeper connections I forge with my body and its extensions.
The act of tending to a food forest labyrinth becomes a ritual of care. By participating in the ongoing maintenance of these spaces, caretakers make the cycle of life, contributing to the regeneration of ecosystems and biodiversity conservation.
As I reflect on the past five years of getting to design and build labyrinths, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to create spaces that nourish me and others. Moving forward, I am excited to continue exploring the intersection of food production, symbolism, and spirituality, knowing that labyrinths holds the potential to inspire deeper connections and transformations. In a world where disconnect and dissonance often prevail, food forest labyrinths offer me a sanctuary for reconnection and reflection, and I've been privileged to build them for others. Have you ever considered designing one for your space?