Imagine this: a forest full of walnut and chestnut trees, berry bushes, fruit trees covered in apples and pears, exotic fruits like pineapples, guavas, and persimmons, herbs, and hundreds of other edible plants…and you’re free to take whatever you want. No, this isn’t some sort of mythical place, no Elysium or Shangri La–it’s real, and it’s in Seattle.
Or rather, it will be.
Elysium, Credit: Jeffrey K. Bedrick
- That’s right, out in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle they’re devoting seven acres of land to what is likely our nation’s first food forest. It’s the next step forward in urban agriculture, a self-sustaining forest full of fresh food for the community.
The Beacon Food Forest started as a group project for a permaculture design course and with huge amounts of outreach, it’s becoming a reality. And seriously, they really care about what the community thinks–they even hired translators so that the Chinese-speaking residents of the area could have a say in the planning.
The best part, of course, is that anyone who happens to wander in can take what they like. No limit, no cost–pretty cool, eh? But Connie, you may ask, what if someone comes around and picks every single apple in the forest? Well according to lead landscape architect Margarett Harrison, “There was major discussion about it. People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries?’ That could very well happen, but maybe someone needed those blueberries. We look at it this way—if we have none at the end of blueberry season, then it means we’re successful.” So for all you Seattleites out there, when the time comes strike while the iron is hot!
The Beacon Food Forest folks are hoping to break ground this summer, plant the trees in the fall, and open next July. I’m excited to see how it all turns out!