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Nations First Food Forest

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Mahshadin View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 27 2012 at 9:19pm

It's Not a Fairytale: Seattle to Build Nation's First Food Forest

Forget meadows. The city's new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking.
 
Hungry? Just head over to the park. Seattle's new food forest aims to be an edible wilderness. (Photo: Buena Vista Images/Getty Images)
 

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.

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. 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.

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. 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."

 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
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Turboguy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Turboguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 1:07am
Cool idea.
 
My cynical side says it'll be trashed in record time.
 
We did something quasi similar in Minneapolis once, calling it the "Yellow Bike Program." Basically they repaired and cobbled together something like 50,000 bicycles that you could go get and ride, then leave somewhere and someone else could take it and ride wherever they wanted to go, etc.
 
The first day they released the bikes, they all rode off LITERALLY into a black hole and not one of them could be located afterwards, though you'd occasionally see a bike or two with covered yellow paint or a yellow tire. It was humorous because it was on every news channel getting touted as the savior of the human race.
 
Everyone with half a brain knew exactly what was going to happen the moment those bikes rode off.
Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views. - William F. Buckley
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Neubarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 6:08am
The crime rate in cities is directly proportional to the degree of poverty.  Poverty breeds crime and conversely, crime breeds poverty.  The most perfect example is the dying city of Detroit. If the jobs were there, the city would not be dying. Now the criminality and the poverty is so great that many businesses do not locate to Detroit, or if they are there, they are making plans to pull out or file for bankruptcy.  So sad, but it is an ugly reality.


In areas were the crime rate is low, civic projects like the pne in the Original Post can prosper and be net additive to society. I live in a community that is so safe that we do not even lock our doors at night. I have lots of abundant fruit trees in the front yard and the fruit is never stolen.

Such is the reality of poverty or a lack of poverty.




 
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Total truth at all times. Why do people have problems with the truth?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Turboguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 8:15am
Originally posted by Joe Neubarth Joe Neubarth wrote:

The crime rate in cities is directly proportional to the degree of poverty.  Poverty breeds crime and conversely, crime breeds poverty.  The most perfect example is the dying city of Detroit. If the jobs were there, the city would not be dying. Now the criminality and the poverty is so great that many businesses do not locate to Detroit, or if they are there, they are making plans to pull out or file for bankruptcy.  So sad, but it is an ugly reality.


In areas were the crime rate is low, civic projects like the pne in the Original Post can prosper and be net additive to society. I live in a community that is so safe that we do not even lock our doors at night. I have lots of abundant fruit trees in the front yard and the fruit is never stolen.

Such is the reality of poverty or a lack of poverty.
 
I find it an absolutely surreal moment that I agree with this post 100%. When I'm home I do not have the luxury of being able to leave literally anything unlocked. If it's not bolted down, it'll be gone the next morning. Crime is up and is only getting worse, and *WILL* only get worse in the coming months.
 
For this I gift you a link.
 
 
People in Detroit are starting to take matters into their own hands. Some are even hiring quasi military security firms like Xe Protection, etc who patrol neighborhoods in black HMMWV's with weapons. (M4's etc)
 
If the Iranian situation explodes and gas prices start going crazy, you may have to re-evaluate your unlocked doors situation.
Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views. - William F. Buckley
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusanT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 12:26pm
I hope this proves successful and and they start up all over the country. (My inner optimist is showing)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TipKat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 12:38pm
I love this idea too.  I think it's about time.  Just wondering if they took into consideration all the types of wildlife that might be drawn to the area and eat the fruits of their labor? 
 
On another note it's really refreshing to see Turboguy and Joe agree on something. ;-) 
Agree to disagree guys. 
Be well everyone. Tip  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mahshadin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 6:28pm
More cities should be doing this, it makes sense. Cities are constaantly planting trees a shrubs why not make it functional.
 
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."   G Orwell
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TipKat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 8:21pm
Mahshadin, I remember my first trip to Greece when I was only 13 I couldn't get over the fact that there where so many fruit trees in everyone's yard in Athens and also on the side streets.  No Maples, Oaks, willows....it was more like apricot, cherry, fig, lemon trees were everywhere.  I know my neighbors in Chicago have pear, apple, peach and fig trees here and there.  Of course they always have to deal with squirrels but they still get a ton of fruit from them.   I too have a baby fig tree that I bring out in the spring...right now it's in the basement.  When it gets too big to move I was taught how to bend it over and bury it in the ground and when spring comes you dig it up and rebend it upright. I know it's a lot of work but the fig trees will not survive our brutal winters here left unshielded and besides I really love figs ;-)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowa102 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 9:04pm
I'd like to see that "Free Food Forest" idea applied to rest areas along the freeway system across the country. However, the businesses that feed people along the highways would probably object to that.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2012 at 10:46pm
Originally posted by Iowa102 Iowa102 wrote:

I'd like to see that "Free Food Forest" idea applied to rest areas along the freeway system across the country. However, the businesses that feed people along the highways would probably object to that.


I was thinking along the same lines - I'm sure businesses with a vested interest would be less than happy about free food and try to throw a wrench in the works. I bet food safety issues would be raised as an excuse, just as they have been about organic vegetable gardens. Nice idea though.
"Buy it cheap. Stack it deep"
"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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