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Public Food Park 03/07/12

Forget rose gardens; edible food forests are the way of the future. And Seattle is leading the way. By Laura Cooke.


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This is one idea that I am surprised hasn’t taken off earlier: a food forest. A group of inspired gardeners have managed to convince the Seattle powers-that-be that their concept of an edible garden holds water.

The Beacon Food Forest is going to be a 2.8 hectare “edible urban food forest” (about the size of 7 soccer/football fields) that will be filled with a variety of edible plants like chestnuts, walnuts, mulberry trees, vegetables and other herbaceous plants. They broke ground this month – which means this isn’t just another pipe dream.

Based on permaculture principles, the garden will mimic natural food landscapes. Certain plants will be excluded as they attract pests, while others will be partnered in a way that will reduce the amount of time humans need to “manage” the garden. “We’re not going to make a wild area. We’re going to tend it well, and it should look nice and neat, but they’re all going to be a little bit denser in order to self-mulch themselves, keep the weeds down naturally with their own leaves, use different plants to keep the weeds down,” said Glen Herlihy, a member of the steering committee.

While this is a fabulous idea – it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
I also wonder whether something like this could work in the context of a country like South Africa, where there are high poverty levels and also sensitive natural environments.

What do you think?  While there are community gardens in many cities, urban areas and rural areas would public food gardens be a worthy option to pursue?

 

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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.


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