Seattle creating a massive ‘Food Forest’ with free edible veggies and fruits

Having lived in both Portland Oregon  and Seattle over the past couple of years, I tell friends back in my hometown of Chicago that the great Northwest is in many ways "Greener" than Chicago and much of the country. I've lived and worked in 5 states in 6 years, so I can give an unbiased opinion.

It is physically green in the winter, which was inconceivable to a Mid-Westerner like me , but also, there "seems" to be more of a "Green Sustainability" mindset, not saying my beloved Chicago doesn't have it, but put another way, you will actually feel out of place up here if you are not recycling…….although those recycling bins at work still confuse me.

Anyhoo, here is the latest amazing project going on up here in Seattle, a massive food forest……

Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles:

Walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more.

All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.

“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart.

Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.

photo soure

The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild.

Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.

That the plan came together at all is remarkable on its own.

photo soure

What started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right. “Friends of the Food Forest" undertook heroic outreach efforts to secure neighborhood support.

The team mailed over 6,000 postcards in five different languages, tabled at events and fairs, and posted fliers,” writes Robert Mellinger for Crosscut.

photo soure

Neighborhood input was so valued by the organizers, they even used translators to help Chinese residents have a voice in the planning. So just who gets to harvest all that low-hanging fruit when the time comes?

“Anyone and everyone,” says Harrison. “There was major discussion about it".

photo soure

"People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries?’ That could very well happen, but maybe someone needed those blueberries.

We look at it this way—if we have none at the end of blueberry season, then it means we’re successful.”

previous text from this article primarily taken from an article in takepart.com

Blog Author's Note: When researching this story I did run into some critics, and for the sake of thoroughness, just wanted to post some of what I ran across.

 Someone is complaining the bringing in non-native species can disrupt the local eco-system, of plants, birds, insects, etc.

 Someone said the site was an old Native American American burial ground

Someone says it will promote homeless people hanging out in this area (although someone else rebutted that there are hundreds of smaller food gardens all over Seattle, and they have none of these issues)

One person theorized folks can take advantage of free food, as in taking all the blueberries and selling them for profit

Someone said there has never been an official study to assess the impact of water runoff to neighboring homes, and other "unknown" hazards to nearby homes

~stay healthy~

 

~you might also like~

 

Ron Finley: The "Gangster Gardner": He plants food and gardens in Vacant lots in South Central L.A.
(click here or photo below).

 

"Eating our Landscape", A British Town [hopefully] starts another "American Revolution" by going sustainable
(click here or photo below)

 

check out all my articles in "Sustainable Gardening, Eating, Living…..and all that jazz"

4 Responses

01.31.14

Very admirable, this patron saint of soil.  Spread the love… scatter some seeds!

01.31.14

yes mam….thanks for stopping by!!!!!

06.03.15

Hi Doug,

Great involvement! I'm doing an article on innovative community gardens throughout the country, and I was wondering if I could link to one of your images for the section on the Beacon Food Forest? Or could you tell me where the original images came from? Thank you!

06.03.15

Hi JB,

For anything on my site, I’m unlike most bloggers, in that you are free to take what you want. Half my photos are paid for from a site called Fotolia.com the other half I pull from the web. I think all the ones in this article I pulled from the web.

I’m not for profit and I take it less seriously about the photos I take off the web, there no way I could assume the Seattle Food Forest Project could have and issue with me using any of their photos if I am promoting their project.

All the photos of baskets of food from from the article are from Good Moon organic Farm in Tortola British Virgin islands   http://goodmoonfarm.com/  What is “appropriate” for bloggers is the use the photo and have a long that says “photo credit” or “photo source” (It would probably be good to go back and add the cource t my article, but I have promoted Good Moon Farm elsewhere in my blog, that was before I started crediting all my photos)

The Seattle Skyline and melon trellis tunnel, I forgot where I got those from you can use a website called Tineye to reverse image search and possibly find the source http://goodmoonfarm.com/

However when you get into the so called “Fair Use Act” , you find that photos can be reused if for education and other purposes, although it can be somewhat arguable or subjective.

Hope that helps

Doug Wallace

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