In Memory of Ben Kim and His Food Forest

9/7/23: Ben Kim passed away peacefully after struggling with colon cancer for years Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 1:33pm in Orlando, Florida.

Ben was a food forester, a talented painter, a jewelry maker, and a good friend in his life. May his soul rest in peace. I met Ben last year when he came to get a truck load of free dirt I have been giving away to the community. Ben would be 43 years old on November 11, 2023. He spoke of many goals and dreams for his food forest and future, but cancer took it all away.

I reserved this space on my blog to showcase Ben’s food forest that he worked so hard building and the things I learned from him.

5/2/23: Ben Kim from Florida Food Forest group on Facebook invited me to tour his little food forest in Orlando, Florida. There’s no HOA so Ben really went all out with his front yard, back yard, and both sides of the house. He even turned the swimming pool into a fish pond.

Ben likes collecting rare exotic ginger varieties around the world. I got to taste two ginger flowers, one was somewhat sour, and the other was kinda sweet. Ben gave me three types of rare ginger varieties to add to my garden collection. It was a Blue Ginger, a Red Button Ginger, and I will have to find out the name of the other edible ginger he gave me.

He also chopped a bag full of sugarcane bites for me to take home too.

I also saw a few Vietnamese edible plants that I have only heard of but first time seeing them. Ben has “day lá trầu cao”, khoai môn VN, and so many other edible plants.

7/9/23: Since Ben couldn’t drive due to his medications, I volunteered to take him grocery shopping. I came to pick him up and he excitedly showed me his Name Doc Mai mango tree and his Vietnamese waxy corn he was growing.

Ben used different ways to protect his mangos from the squirrels and other critters. Of the three types of protective covering, the first on the left works. The squirrels and mice would chew through the mesh netting.

Ben showed me his sticky corn or waxy corn growing so well. He sow three seeds per Walmart reusable bag with rich organic potting mix. Then he placed the bags in a small plastic kiddie pool. He said to make sure the pool has about 3 inches of water. Once the water line is down, then add more water to the pool and never let the pool dries out of water. The corn grew well last year for Ben with a good harvest. But unfortunately this year, it started dying along with Ben since he no longer can get up from the bed. He said to keep the worms that eat the corn away, spray neem oil on the soil surface once a week.

8/18/23: Ben went into hospice care for a few weeks. He was able to request to be released earlier this week for home hospice so he may spend the last days of his life looking out through the window at his food forest.

One of his last wish and favor he asked of me when he was in home hospice was to take care of all his young June plum trees or resell the trees for him. I took about 24 June plum trees home and gave a dozen to a friend, sold a few and have three more June plum to sell for $20 local pickup or $40 with shipping included. I am keeping one of the last four June plum trees for memory keepsake.

9/7/23: Ben Kim passed away peacefully after struggling with colon cancer for years on Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 1:33pm in Orlando, Florida. He didn’t want a funeral. He didn’t want a burial. He asked his husband to scatter his ashes into the ocean. He left this world so quietly. I wish Ben would let me take a picture of him and me together but Ben doesn’t like to have any pictures taken. Rest in peace my friend, Ben.

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