Seattle Will Soon Boast America’s Largest Food Forest

Photo by Oast House Archive. Some rights reserved.

In what can be seen as a prime example of classic “quirky” Pacific Northwest innovation, city planners broke ground earlier this month on a project to develop the nation’s largest public “food forest” right here in Knowledge Mosaic’s home city of Seattle (seems only fitting, as Seattle lost its “Fun Forest” in 2009). The inspiration for the food forest comes from the concept of permaculture, which promotes sustainable living through innovative agricultural design. The idea can be applied to energy, architecture, and in this case, urban farming.

The Beacon Food Forest has been in the pipeline since 2009, and takes its name from the neighborhood in which it will be built, South Seattle’s Beacon Hill (for you locals: stretching seven blocks on the southwest side of Jefferson Park, not too far from where two Green Mien contributors went to high school!). The project has been gaining momentum thanks to fundraising efforts by active members of the community, and the story has been picking up some traction in the environmental blog circuit. I won’t say too much about it myself, having only found out about the project today (embarrassingly, considering I read the Stranger, and they’ve been covering it since September), but I would recommend Robert Mellinger’s article in Crosscut for a thorough primer, with lots of quotes and intriguing tidbits:

Further down the path an edible arboretum full of exotic looking persimmons, mulberries, Asian pears, and Chinese haws will surround a sheltered classroom for community workshops. Looking over the whole seven acres, you’ll see playgrounds and kid space full of thornless mini edibles adjacent to community gardening plots, native plant areas, a big timber-frame gazebo and gathering space with people barbecuing, a recreational field, and food as far as you can see.

Sounds like paradise! Here’s hoping that this project is seen all the way to fruition (terrible joke, sorry folks!). No word yet on when the food forest is likely to be completed, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled (ugh).

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