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The Incredible Edible Forest

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:

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OWS Sustainability Group To Build ‘Farm in the Sky’

5 Ways to Kick-Start Your Own Urban Vegetable Garden


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Photo from Peter Fristedt via flickr

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2:22PM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

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

4:08PM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

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

9:58AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

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!"

2:51PM PST on Jan 14, 2013

Thank you Utne Reader, for Sharing this!

8:11AM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

noted, thanks

5:05AM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

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!

3:46PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Delightful idea!

9:52AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

what a fab idea!

4:25PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

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!!

6:28PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

this sounds so awesome!

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