The Incredible Edible Forest


Written by Margret Aldrich

You’ve heard of farm to table. Coming soon: park to table. This spring, in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, seven acres of underused land will be transformed into the nation’s largest urban “food forest”—a community park planted with a cornucopia of produce that visitors are encouraged to harvest and eat, for free.

According to Crosscut reporter Robert Mellinger, the Beacon Food Forest will be “an urban oasis of public food” offering a variety of edibles: apples and blueberries, herbs and vegetables, chestnuts and walnuts, persimmons and Asian pears.

The sprawling project, while ambitious, draws strength from volunteer groups like Friends of the Beacon Food Forest and from simply letting nature take its course. Built around the concept of permaculture, it will be a perennial, self-sustaining landscape, much like a woodland ecosystem in the wild. Companion plants included for natural soil-enhancement and pest-control will help lower the amount of maintenance needed.

“The idea of planting perennials as part of a self-sustaining, holistic system is old hat to many accomplished gardeners,” writes Claire Thompson for Grist, and groups like San Francisco’s Guerrilla Grafters have already dazzled us with novel ways to promote urban agriculture. “But,” continues Thompson, “creating a system on public land that combines the concepts of urban farms, orchards, and natural forest, and depending on collaborative community effort to keep it going, represents uncharted territory for the now-flourishing urban-farming movement.”

In addition to contributing to your family picnic, the bounteous Beacon Food Forest will feature traditional amenities like playing fields, community gardens, a kids’ area, and public gathering spaces. Check out the full site plan here.

This post was originally published by the Utne Reader.


Related Stories:

Kids in Farm-School Partnership Know Where Food Comes From

OWS Sustainability Group To Build ‘Farm in the Sky’

5 Ways to Kick-Start Your Own Urban Vegetable Garden


Photo from Peter Fristedt via flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Jeanne Young
Jeanne Young5 years ago

Can't stand living in urban areas - but sometimes - - -Some cities - - -give me hope

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo5 years ago

Thank you for the marvelous post! What a novel idea!

Douglas Lass
Douglas Lass5 years ago

I have been involved in a community garden the past 7 years, but with upcoming surgery, I'll have to put that on hold. Like the Cubs fans are fond of saying,"Wait till nest year!"

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Utne Reader, for Sharing this!

Loo Samantha
Loo sam5 years ago

noted, thanks

Debby Gesaman
Deborah Gesaman5 years ago

You have me thinking of where we could plant in our township. Unfortunately it's not been a good year for our vegetable or flower gardens due to a lack of rain - but, there is always next year!

Lindsay Kemp
Lindsay K5 years ago

Delightful idea!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

what a fab idea!

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

The Beacon Food Forest sounds like a wonderful idea!! I wish you all the luck in the world in making it work!! Way to go Seattle!!