Seattle's First Urban Food Forest Will Be Open To Foragers
Seattle's First Urban Food Forest Will Be Open To Foragers
By KRISTOFOR HUSTED / npr.org
Mar 16, 2012

If you're a regular reader of The Salt, you've probably noticed our interest in foraging. From San Francisco to Maryland, we've met wild food experts, nature guides and chefs passionate about picking foods growing in their backyards.

Now, Washington state has jumped on the foraging bandwagon with plans to develop a 7-acre public plot into a food forest. The kicker? The lot sits smack in the middle of Seattle.

The idea is to give members of the working-class neighborhood of Beacon Hill the chance to pick plants scattered throughout the park – dubbed the Beacon Food Forest. It will feature fruit-bearing perennials — apples, pears, plums, grapes, blueberries, raspberries and more.

Herlihy and a team first assembled their vision of a food forest in 2009 as a final project for a permaculture design class.

If all goes well in the food forest's 2-acre trial plot, the whole 7-acre park will look something like this.
EnlargeCourtesy of Glenn Herlihy

If all goes well in the food forest's 2-acre trial plot, the whole 7-acre park will look something like this.

After some community outreach, local support came pouring in for the idea. Herlihy and the Friends of Beacon Food Forestcommunity group received a $22,000 grant to hire a certified designer for the project.

A local utility, Seattle Public Utilities, offered up the 7-acre plot, which could make it the largest, urban food forest on public land in the U.S., Glenn Herlihy, a steering committee member for the project, tells The Salt.

The group is currently working with $100,000 in seed money to set up the first phase: a 1.75-acre test zone to be planted by the end of the year. After a few years, if that section is deemed successful by the city, the remaining acreage will be converted to food trees.

 

Of course, any "free" food source begs the question of what to do with overzealous pickers. No definitive answer on how to handle that predicament has been established yet, though. According to Herlihy, the only solutions right now are to produce an abundance of fruit so there's enough for everyone and to embed "thieves' gardens" with extra plants in the park for those people eager to take more than their share.

For now, getting the park on its feet and drawing neighbors to its bushy terrain ranks highest on the totem pole of goals, Herlihy says. He hopes that the park will become a congregating area for the diverse residents of the neighborhood. "There's Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipinos, and Africans in the area. The Beacon Food Forest is a place where all ages and ethnicities can meet."

Eventually, garden plots in the forest will be available to lease to gardeners for $10 a year. Also, Herlihy says they hope to educate community members on the benefits of permaculture.

"It's a food system being developed in a neighborhood that's looking for more self-reliance," he says. "It's getting people together by having a common denominator: soil."

4.6 ·
4
Trending Today
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 4,984 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 4,121 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 2,894 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
Those That Did Not Seek Revenge
Dr. Ann Russo · 1,875 views today · Dr. Ann Russo on violence, healing, and transforming justice.
DAPL Opponents Vow to 'Rise' From Ashes of Oceti Sakowin and Keep Fighting
Lauren McCauley · 1,775 views today · 'They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started,' Dallas Goldtooth declared
Immigrants For Sale (2015)
33 min · 1,348 views today · The detention of migrants has become a multi-billion dollar industry in which immigrants are sold to the highest bidder and traded like mere products. The Corrections...
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 970 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 953 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 880 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 877 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 856 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Compassion, the Antidote
Martin Doblmeier · 851 views today · Thich Nhat Hanh has published nearly 100 books and is one of the best-known teachers of Zen Buddhism in the world today. In the early 1960s his practice of what he termed...
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 836 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 706 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 679 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 648 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 479 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 435 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
Michael Moore Wants to Help You Find Your Next Anti-Trump Protest
Sarah Ruiz-Grossman · 301 views today · The Resistance Calendar lists upcoming rallies across the country.
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 288 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Seattle's First Urban Food Forest Will Be Open To Foragers