Seattle To Grow “Food Forest” For Its Citizens
Seattle is making an attempt to connect to its environment and for that a food forest will be grown right in the middle of the city, next to a busy road, atop a hill. However, that is not all that this 2 acre forest will be. In fact, in today’s age of food crisis after food crisis plaguing Mother Earth, the Seattle food forest could well be a source of inspiration for the rest of the country as well as the world.
1) Pick Your Own Produce
One of the main aims of the food forest is to allow the Seattle citizens to pick apples, plums, and other produce directly from the branches. The pleasure of doing so can only be understood by someone who has lived on a farm. Since most of the Seattle today is a concrete jungle, this food forest will give the citizens a chance to go back to farm-life without having to move out of their homes.
2) The Reactions
People are already excited about having a food forest in the middle of their city. As one of the Seattle residents, who walks her dogs next to the proposed site, says, “I think it’s a great opportunity for the people of Seattle to be able to connect to the environment.” Urban agriculture is the term making the rounds in most of the conversations around Seattle these days since people already are health-conscious and they love locally-grown food.
3) Other Attempts
Although no other city has attempted this project at such a large scale as Seattle, there have been mini versions of the same in various cities right from Portland, Ore. To Syracuse, N.Y. Vacant lots are being converted into vegetables gardens in order to lay hands on fresh produce as well as to minimize the burden on environment and to cut the risk of chemical fertilizers ending up on your plate.
4) Chickens in the Backyard
The Seattle city has already made its mark on the environmental map with the help of the community gardens that dot the city’s landscape. Many city neighborhoods also host farmer markets regularly, where citizens can get everything locally-produced, right from fresh bread to duck eggs. Residents also raise chickens in their own backyards and some even go as far as rearing goats in their house.
5) The Idea
The idea of the food forest was first broached in front of the city officials when an enthusiastic group of residents suggested that sustainable gardening could be given a try in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. That was in the year 2010, which was declared as the “year of urban agriculture.” Right after, the city volunteers took off the project in the city’s oldest neighborhood. The food forest will be grown in the vicinity of a sports park, a bowling club, and a driving range, which goes on to prove that in this scheme, all modern amenities can co-exist along with more sustainable methods.
6) Beacon Food Forest
That is the name of the project and the authorities claim that when completed, this food forest shall be the largest public source of food in the country. For the first phase of the park, which will be grown on about 2 acres of land, the city officials have allocated $100,000. The forest is being designed so that it can grow with time. The food forest will have more than one type of trees, unlike an orchard and one of the techniques being employed to grow food is permaculture, which takes help from natural fertilization that comes from decaying vegetation, instead of chemical fertilizers. The food forest will also have space for community gardens, grown at a smaller scale, which the families or community groups can maintain and use. The food forest is hoping to reap its first harvest in spring 2013.
While the Seattle residents wait for their efforts to bore fruit, the city officials inform that they will depend on the honor system to determine how much each family can take from the food forest. Organizers say that they will use the honor system when it comes to how much food people can take. Well, there is time for that still but at least Seattle has made a good start.