United State’s First Food Forest: Going Back to Our Roots?
The first time I heard about this, I was walking around Capitol Hill’s infamous Volunteer Park. “What do you mean by an all edible garden? The leaves, everything?” I had never heard of such an idea before. It seemed to me, a naive person about what you can and cannot eat in the forest, that you could eat just about anything that grew, unless it was poisonous of course. It seemed like an obvious idea. Can’t we eat a lot of things but we choose not to?
“No, no, no,” my friend explained. “The point is to have a place in the city where everyone contributes. Like a co-op garden but bigger: a forest.”
Directly from the horse’s mouth: What is a food forest?
“A Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees are the upper level, while below are berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals. Companions or beneficial plants are included to attract insects for natural pest management while some plants are soil amenders providing nitrogen and mulch. Together they create relationships to form a forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food with less maintenance.” -From Beacon Food Forest
Seven acres in South Seattle. It was rumored to happen in Volunteer Park when I first heard it a few years ago. Well, I’m happy to see many different neighborhoods step up and expand. This city is amazing: inventive, caring and conscious. I mean, as far as a city goes it is this way.
People! They are even bringing in guava, lingonberry and persimmons! What! This is great news because I really dislike the guava I buy in the store (and the papaya). I am convinced if I just had it right off the tree, I’d love it. Of course it’ll have the standards like pear and apple trees (it’s what we’re famous for!); also, blueberries, walnut and chestnuts! That makes me SO HAPPY!
And no one, as far as I know, has done this before. That is terrible exciting. Isn’t it interesting that while we have made much progress in terms of science in technology, Americans have experimented with their food source and failed. This is our response: turn back the time a bit and take a number from our ancestors. Food, as it is, is the best. We tried it the other way but we are suffering because of it.