Beacon Hill, Seattle will be home to the nation's first food forest - a seven-acre permaculture project providing fruits and vegetables for anyone taking a stroll in the area.
The Friends of the Food Forest, a steering committee for the project, have been adamant in involving the Beacon Hill community in the process and they've also been successful at overcoming bureaucratic roadblocks that have squelched many a progressive community project. The food forest will be created according to the principles of permaculture, in order to yield a truly sustainable long-term system. Delicious edibles will fill the forest - blueberry and raspberry bushes, apple trees, vegetables, herbs and walnut trees among so many others.
Over the past few months, the Friends of the Food Forest's community outreach program has been impressive: they sent 6,000 postcards in five different languages and spread the word at events and fairs to gain the support of the community and to invite them to provide feedback. They also hired translators to help elderly Chinese residents ensure that their ideas are listened to during meetings and talked with members of the Samoan community, who use the nearby play fields for cricket matches, to understand what plants they would like the forest to have.
Jenny Pell, part of the food forest's professional design team, has a beautiful long-term vision for the forest to spark similar permaculture projects in Seattle. In her own words, "If Seattle could provide 5 percent of its food from within the city, that would be more than almost any other city in the world. Even places that are really committed get less than 1 percent. Can you imagine what the city would be like if 10 percent of the food came from the city?".
Lead landscape architect Margarett Harrison feels that the Beacon Food Forest, if successful, will "set such a precedent for the city of Seattle, and for the whole Northwest." Indeed, perhaps the success of this project could inspire similar permaculture projects nationwide, or even worldwide.
Image by Shootingsnow on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.