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Nation's largest public Food Forest takes root on Beacon Hill

After nearly three years of planning, Beacon Hill residents are breaking ground on what will be the nation's largest public food forest.

The completed plans for the Beacon Food Forest.

The completed plans for the Beacon Food Forest. Harrison Design

Jenny Pell (right) and Margarett Harrison speak to a meeting of Beacon Hill residents about the food forest.

Jenny Pell (right) and Margarett Harrison speak to a meeting of Beacon Hill residents about the food forest. Friends of the Food Forest

An aerial map of Beacon Food Forest's future site and surrounding park land.

An aerial map of Beacon Food Forest's future site and surrounding park land. Seattle Parks and Recreation

Beacon Hill residents give input on the project's design plans at a July 2011 meeting.

Beacon Hill residents give input on the project's design plans at a July 2011 meeting. Friends of the Food Forest

Friends of the Food Forest gather on the future site.

Friends of the Food Forest gather on the future site. Friends of the Food Forest

Sandwiched between 15th Ave. S. and the play fields at the SW edge of Jefferson Park in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle are seven acres of lonely, sloping lawn that have sat idly in the hands of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) for the better part of a century. At least until this spring, when the land that has only ever known the whirring steel of city mowers will begin a complete transformation into seven acres of edible landscape and community park space known as the Beacon Food Forest.

The end goal is an urban oasis of public food: Visitors to the corner of 15th Ave S. and S. Dakota Street will be greeted by a literal forest — an entire acre will feature large chestnuts and walnuts in the overstory, full-sized fruit trees like big apples and mulberries in the understory, and berry shrubs, climbing vines, herbaceous plants, and vegetables closer to the ground.

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.

The entire project will be built around the concept of permaculture — an ecological design system, philosophy, and set of ethics and principles used to create perennial, self-sustaining landscapes and settlements that build ecological knowledge and skills in communities. The concept of a food forest is a core concept of permaculture design derived from wild food ecosystems, where land often becomes forest if left to its own devices. In a food forest, everything from the tree canopy to the roots is edible or useful in some way.

"If this is successful," explains Margarett Harrison, the lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest, "it is going to set such a precedent for the city of Seattle, and for the whole Northwest."

She may be understating it. There is no other project of Beacon Food Forest's scale and design on public land in the United States — a forest of food, for the people, by the people.

The idea for the Beacon Food Forest first emerged in 2009 during a group project for a permaculture design course led by Jenny Pell of Permaculture Now! From early on, the group — led by Beacon Hill gardener and sculptor Glenn Herlihy — held casual meetings with the Beacon Hill community. These led to the formation of a steering committee called Friends of the Food Forest — a team initially composed of Herlihy and two others from the permaculture class, Jacquie Cramer and Daniel Johnson. In 2010, the  group secured $22,000 in Neighborhood Matching Funds from the Department of Neighborhoods.

Friends of the Food Forest undertook heroic outreach efforts to secure neighborhood support. The team mailed over 6,000 postcards in five different languages, tabled at events and fairs, and posted fliers. And Seattle residents responded. The first meeting, especially, drew permaculturalists and other intrigued parties from all around the city.

One afternoon the design team showed up on site and discovered the play fields inundated with the tents, pageantry, barbecues, and crowds of a typical afternoon of Samoan cricket playing. The design had to be revised to accommodate their short-cut up to the fields and plans were made to interview members of the Samoan community to find out what kinds of plants they would like to have along the edge BFF shares with the fields.

More than 70 people, mostly from Beacon Hill, attended the second meeting in mid-July, where proposed designs were laid out on giant sheets paper with markers strewn about so the community could scribble their ideas and feedback directly onto the plans. A dozen elderly Chinese women participated with the help of a translator hired by Friends of the Food Forest. Some neighbors praised the idea, while others shared deep concerns over vandals, theft, and management. More than anything else, the enthusiasm to get to work was palpable.


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Comments:

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 5:38 a.m. Inappropriate

I hope there is a contingency plan. Made by adults. Based in reality.

BlueLight

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 5:44 a.m. Inappropriate

This is one of the most exciting and significant stories I have read in Crosscut since its inception. Thanks to Robert Mellinger for writing it, and thanks to Crosscut for publishing it.

The followup -- the community organizing effort that this project will require to maintain, nurture, and expand the food forest -- will be one of the best ongoing stories in Seattle's history as this process moves forward.

For inspiration and a guidepost of sorts, Geoff Lawton's video, at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftgWcD-1Nw , of a 2000-year-old food forest in Morocco, is a start.

Permaculture is a dynamic process that constantly provides new information, and that puts people in daily personal touch with their food supply. Urban permaculture on this scale has the potential to put a whole lot of people into this basic relationship, and to provide lifetimes of teaching moments for generations of residents. Please continue to report on these efforts, and thanks again for this story.

ivan

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 7:41 a.m. Inappropriate

I certainly applaud any thing we can do to make urban open space productive and food produced locally. I do worry that public open space that remains as open space be considered at least as valuable as agriculture. When people get busy using public open space for gardening, the multi-use aspect of a park system is compromised. There are a myriad of places to grow food in the city, roof tops, yards and land in transition, like vacant lots. Please be prudent and save park land for "all" people.

chuck

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 9:04 a.m. Inappropriate

Perennial, edible tree and shrub crops are not "gardening." Nobody's access to this space should be compromised.

ivan

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 9:50 a.m. Inappropriate

The words blulight, adult and reality all in one sentence?? Hardly likely.

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 10:04 a.m. Inappropriate

Hi Swifty, You know where I can get a copy of "The Comedy of the Commons" (the English version, not the Chinese translation)?

BlueLight

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 11:32 a.m. Inappropriate

No space for you under the rock this AM blulight?

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 11:45 a.m. Inappropriate

Ahh, thank goodness for Real Change News -- we covered this project way early, during my first few weeks living in Sad Seattle, last summer, 2011, having moved from Spokane after 10 years working as a community college teacher, activist, urban planner, and radio show host.

http://www.realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/6289/

Man, on my KYRS-FM show, Tipping Points: Voices form the Edge, tied to this Food Forest in a loose way, conceptually and ethically, I interviewed such heavyweights as Winona LaDuke (check her White Earth group's work on community farming, wind farms, bio-diesel), Bill McKibben (when he was more confident than I about Obama and the so-called green programs), Tim Flannery (read the Weather Makers if you can), Michael Ableman on bio-intensive agriculture, Novella Carpenter (Farm City), Richard Heinberg (Peak Everything) and an entire list of people working on food insecurity, sustainability (deep green) and social injustice tied to the corporate lie of capitalism. Catching Fire is a great work by Richard Wrangham tied to food. And, the great Against the Grain: How Agriculture Hijacked Civilization, a book about the truly global-changing age of agriculture -- by Richard Manning.

James Howard Kunslter, Long Emergency, Geography of Nowhere, well, he has some great things -- negative -- to say about this weird idea of "open space." That golf course on Beacon Hill is "open-closed space." Not so great for the rest of us not liking the golf industry --

here's another piece I did for my other gig in Spokane, on golfing:

http://www.downtoearthnw.com/stories/2010/apr/02/zen-golf-look-where-you-spray-those-toxins-and-how/

The point of this Food Forest is education. Community participation. A deeper regard for long-range training. Come on, there are tons of parking lots around Jefferson Park. Come on, Seattle is one gridlocked place, and putting a few acres into a food forest is more than just grand.

Food and eating are some real politically charged issues, and good going Food Forest workers on this project --

http://www.realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/6289/

Maybe a plot for some of those Thai peppers, or super habeneros so SPD can recharge their pepper-spray canisters for more peaceful protests. That might just work as a way to get more buy-in for the food forest -- overpaid cops putting money into the kitty and they can have their own chile plot.

Check out the Food Culture story also written by yours truly, in Spokane Living Magazine:

http://spokanecda.com/featured/spokanes-food-culture-%e2%80%93-locavores-gastronomiques-back-to-earth-farmers/

Note -- Why am I tooting my own horn? Well, because snobby and self-important Seattle seems to lock out working class writers -- Seattle Weekly: no way. The Stranger: ha! Seattle Met: gotta be kidding. Seattle Magazine: you have to be joking. The editors around here are so hooked on their lifestylism they can't see beyond their lattes (soaked in civet urine) and foodie fetishes, and that oh so hip sex, sax, soul scene. So, thanks Crosscut for devoting so much digital ink to this piece by Robert Mellinger.

PaulKirk

Posted Thu, Feb 16, 2:10 p.m. Inappropriate

"While piles of press and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are sucked into the inertia of industrial-scale, controversial infrastructure projects such as the viaduct, projects like BFF, which are willing to accommodate and investigate their community's needs and can raise the health, happiness, and standard of living of a whole community, are often crushed by bureaucracy before they even begin."

Not just in Sad Seattle is it "With Liberty and Justice for Some"—Glen Greenwald: "Public rage today is impotent; it has no mechanism to produce consequences" Nonetheless, the good earth harbors its seeds no matter the weather of the moment and permaculture will win out whether we are around to notice or not.

afreeman

Posted Fri, Feb 17, 11:36 a.m. Inappropriate

Again, The Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges explains the greenie weenie syndrome and why dour democrats have no intestines and why lobotomized liberals love their Suburus. As an educator who got put in jail alongside priests protesting NAFTA in El Paso, blocking the international bridge with several thousand on both sides of the borderline; as a journalist who covered Reagan-USA's wars in Cental America and the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas; as an activist who cut his teeth in Arizona in the 1970s as a kid working with people who ended up creating the Center for Biological Diversity; and just as a citizen who has been dragged out of City Council meetings for going over the 3-minute time max (man, I'm a highschool wrestler -- give me 9 minutes, man!), I have seen a retreat by Americans for, gulp, 40 years. Feel good, no anger, no vim and vigor, no guts, self-actualized. Fine, but the Wrecking Crew (THomas Frank) got those evangelicals and other fine tea bagging people to go into politics -- school boards, dog catcher, low-level appointed and elected positions. Now, like Hate Radio, it's 6,000 (hyper conservatives) to one (semi-progressive) ratio. They've been organizing and doing the nighttime work of political activism, all the good, bad and ugly of it. Consensus hand holding won't do it. Blogging it won't. Not another Facebook page!@#$% to save the world!!!

Read this -- http://www.alternet.org/visions/154091/does_college_make_us_less_equipped_to_change_the_world/

Does College Make Us Less Equipped to Change the World

It makes sense, and while I will fight to the death for education for all, free, I was a rare radical with working class and work-aholic roots in my 29 years teaching college all over the place, including prisons and military posts.

Need a hero? Model? Someone to talk about who is in jail for real activism? Read the great Orion Magazine interview of a real environmental hero, Tim DeChristopher, by Terry Tempest Williams --

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6598

The big problem is money -- Sierra Club loving that Chesapeake Energy's $26 million.

Democracy Now had a great little segment touching upon that --

QUOTE -- Major environmental groups are coming under criticism from within their own ranks for taking positions that some say are antithetical to their stated missions of saving the planet. In the latest issue of The Nation magazine, the British journalist Johann Hari writes, "As we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world’s worst polluters — and burying science-based environmentalism in return…In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate."

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/9/the_real_climategate_conservation_groups_align

So, yeah, we can go on and on about American impotence -- by getting really under the skin of liberals:

"Beyond Hope" by Derrick Jensen,

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/170/

But for now, neighbors, whomever, call a spade a spade, and have no fear. Enough of Obama Yes We Can. Enough of the lies of liberals going for that Ron Racist-Christian Paul. Really, just do it one idiot at a time -- that is, get rid of one a day -- and one bad corporation at a time a day, or week. Whatever your comfort level, though Microsoft is so messed up and so much embedded in our world, that one's tough to shed -- They love Monsanto to the tune of $23 million worth of stock and their AGRA program is Frankenstein's Bride on Steroids. Check out a Seattle Group putting feet to fire -- AGRA Watch --

http://www.downtoearthnw.com/search/?q=AGRA&x;=0&y;=0

Now, old Gates and company supporting the Heartland Institute, faux think tank, climate change deniers --

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/15/heartland-institute-microsoft-gm-money

Ahh, the Seattle Way (great book by former Neighborhoods planner, Jim Diers)is truly schizoid.

Finally, will Crosscut run a story on Dorli Rainey? Like, on the web site, not just in comments' links.

http://www.greenriver.edu/news/dorli-rainey-visits-grcc.htm

Andale pues, y viva Latinos/-as en Washington!!

PaulKirk

Posted Fri, Feb 17, 12:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Shouldn't have given out that Editor's Pick...

BlueLight

Posted Fri, Feb 17, 10:41 p.m. Inappropriate

'food forest'? This makes it sound trendy, and unlikely to succeed.

Posted Fri, Feb 17, 10:42 p.m. Inappropriate

Mulberries?

Posted Sat, Feb 18, 8:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Trendy? Unlikely to succeed? Like the trend to plant trees in Kenya, throughout the world? Like the gardens the Germans have along the railroad tracks? Trendy is a dead-pan word, applied to incite, what? Disregard? Fear? Superficiality?

Food Forest = It's permaculture, old school agriculture that should come back into widespread practice -- And it will, thanks to Peak Everything (Richard Heinberg)!

Permaculture Food Forest

The idea of forest gardens (food forests) was first articulated by Robert A. de J. Hart in his book ‘Forest Gardening’ and subsequently became one of the keystone concepts in permaculture. A permaculture forest garden mimics the architecture and beneficial relationships of a natural forest. Food forests are not ‘natural’, but are designed and managed ecosystems that are very rich in biodiversity and productivity.

At a permaculture farm in New Mexico, the food forests are designed to meet several goals:

to produce food
to produce forage for beneficial insects, pollinators, chickens and song birds
to create wildlife habitat
to nurture for our bodies through herbal teas and concoctions
to create beauty and sense of well being

Check it out --

http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/Permaculture-Food-Forest/

Mulberries? Expand your contexts, Crosscut commentators:

The Mulberry (Morus alba) grows on a tree that has a short, thick trunk and wide spreading branches, and is slow growing to a height of 20 to 30 feet. It is native to Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey and Armenia, and is now cultivated in many parts of Europe. The tree produces a berry composed of a cluster of tiny, closely-packed mini-berries, each of which contains a seed. The dried fruit has a subtle, sweet taste and a slightly crunchy texture caused by the seeds.

Mulberries have a growing reputation as a functional food with antioxidant properties. The main active antioxidant ingredient the mature berries contain is called "resveratrol". The berries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and Iron. For a fruit, they are also high in protein. Mulberries are yet another tasty functional food that you can eat as a light snack or add to both sweet and savory recipes, and obtain a nutrient-rich boost.

PaulKirk

Posted Sat, Feb 18, 5:17 p.m. Inappropriate

Dear Chuck,

Thank you for your comment. I would like to note that one of the major requests by the community involved in this project was for open space. If you look at the design schematic (first picture on right at top) you will see nearly two acres in the center of the 7-acre food forest dedicated to open space. One of the aspects that drew my attention to this story was the depth of the community involvement, one of the most sincere efforts to preserve parks for 'all' that I have seen. Also note, Beacon Food Forest is also adjacent to Jefferson Park and a large expanse of open space. Open space still remains the priority of park design and is a feature that is not yet under threat to my knowledge.

Posted Sun, Feb 19, 7:02 a.m. Inappropriate

Any bets on how long it will be before the homeless set up camp in the area and harvest the majority of the bounty for their own consumption or sale on the streetcorner for cash?

Cameron

Posted Sun, Feb 19, 2:56 p.m. Inappropriate

Dear Cameron,

Thank you for your comment. As mentioned in the article, theft, vandalism, and the like were discussed extensively between the community, design team, stakeholders, and steering committee and satisfactory solutions were determined. As it turns out, there are large gardens with fruit and vegetables all over Seattle and homelessness is not a new consideration. The homeless are part of every community in the city there is not yet any grand solution finding food, shelter, and other necessities for those individuals. The Danny Woo International District Community Garden is quite large and much of it constitutes what could be called food forest. There is a large homeless population in the area and there are many factors that have allowed for a working relationship between that population and the garden. A combination of design elements, frequent use by the community, management personnel on site, and other factors make the relationship work. Sometimes the police have to be called if illicit activity is taking place. The same is true of any public space and of private property and is not unique to this project. To my knowledge no community garden has had the occurrence of a fruit stand being set up on their corner run by homeless individuals peddling plums. In large gardens like this, there is generally an over-abundance of fruit at the times during which theft becomes a problem. Three key solutions are ongoing sharing, education, and communication with disadvantaged members of the community. Many of these individuals would be able to access fruit from the garden through the charitable organizations and food banks to which surplus and designated portions of produce will be allotted. All this said, your concern is a legitimate one shared by many in the community who were involved and it was thoroughly addressed to their, the Seattle Police Department's, Seattle Public Utility's, and all the other stakeholders' satisfaction.

Posted Sun, Feb 19, 9:30 p.m. Inappropriate

The single, most important line in Mellinger's fine piece is this: "A dozen elderly Chinese women participated with the help of a translator hired by Friends of the Food Forest." I doubt there have been many projects (the DWIDCG excepted) that have consulted Chinese-American grannies about their opinions. Because the grannies were there, I have confidence this will be a major success for us all. Thanks.

bkochis

Posted Mon, Feb 20, 8:45 a.m. Inappropriate

This is an exciting story! Thanks for reporting it, and in such depth. I hope this concept takes off and inspires many more.

Posted Mon, Feb 20, 8:48 p.m. Inappropriate

@Paul Kirk, so, have you ever eaten mulberries in any form? Have any of the commenters here eaten mulberries, or drank mulberry wine, or are the mulberrie trees being planted for bird food? Perhaps we can all go 'round the mulberry bush and be educated about trendy parks that produce food no one much actually eats.

Do mulberry trees grow well in Seattle? Inquiring minds want to know. But I do appreciate your time educating us on all the things about mulberries most of us did not know.

Growing chestnut trees seems like a fine idea. I have seen many people picking the chestnuts off the ground on Queen Anne in the public areas, they are a popular delicacy.

I side with Blue Light on this one. I hope there is a contingency plan, made by adults. And that the food grown is suited for our climate, familiar to most residents, and will actually be foraged and eaten, instead of going to the birds, squirrels, deer and rats.

I still don't like the name 'Food Forest'.

Posted Mon, Feb 20, 8:52 p.m. Inappropriate

@Paul Kirk, so ... have you ever eaten mulberries in any form?

Have any of the commenters here eaten mulberries, or drank mulberry wine, or are the mulberry trees being planted for bird food? Do we need to all go 'round the mulberry bush and be educated about a food-trendy park idea that may produce food no one but the wildlife will actually eat?

Do we know whether mulberry trees grow well in Seattle? Which ones?

Growing chestnut trees seems like a fine idea. I have seen many people picking the chestnuts off the ground on Queen Anne in the public areas. Chestnuts are a popular delicacy.

I side with Bluelight on this one. I hope there is a contingency plan, made by adults.

And that the food grown is suited for our climate, familiar to most residents, and will actually be foraged and eaten, instead of going to the birds, squirrels, deer and rats.

I still don't like the name 'Food Forest'.

Posted Tue, Feb 21, 2:11 p.m. Inappropriate

@common1sense, yes, I've eaten mulberries, from a tree at a small organic farm in Olympia where I worked two summers during college (1989 & '91) and have remained a visitor and friend ever since. The mulberry tree is doing fine, which makes me think they probably do well in this climate. The farm is doing well, too, which suggests that it's possible to be interested in growing food, yet also be a responsible adult. In fact, I imagine any successful small farmer could teach the rest of us a thing or two about adulthood.

Why do you assume that the people who planned this food forest don't know what they're doing? Unlike you and me, the armchair critics, they've actually developed a plan and gotten it past numerous hurdles while building an unlikely coalition of support around it.

Mulberries, by the way, are delicious. They don't keep well once they're picked, and while you can dry them, dried mulberries don't taste like much. Which may be why they're not grown commercially. But I'd go well out of my way for a chance to pick some off a tree, and I'm delighted to hear that kids in Beacon Hill may get to grow up with that memorable experience.

Working on an organic farm for two summers changed my life in some lasting ways. I learned how good food tastes when it is really fresh. I learned that food that's real doesn't need to be drowned in sugar and salt to make it appealing. To this day I eat much better than I did before those summers. And there's something about picking food off a bush and popping it into your mouth that just feels good in an instinctive way--relaxing, fun, like a treasure hunt.

Posted Tue, Feb 21, 10:46 p.m. Inappropriate

Great idea, it sounds like People's Park in Berkeley, which was formed by a grassroots group of activists, who had to fight the system and overcome conventional thinking in their quest to realize a Utopian dream for community inspired green space within the city. Now, the urban forest and community garden envisioned by the activists is a true community asset for the neighbors: it provides a place for homeless people to sleep, is a convenient place to score heroin, and provides visual cover for frequent assaults, armed robberies and battery. Next time you are in town, buy a cheap bottle of vodka and head over for a relaxing afternoon with drunks and druggies who have taken up residence in the park.

Check out the crime log for People's Park: http://police.berkeley.edu/crimealerts/2011/index.html It truly is a community asset that just keeps giving.

jasonb

Posted Wed, Feb 22, 11:02 a.m. Inappropriate

@jasonb, are you focused on this line, "a forest of food, for the people, by the people?" In the body of text surrounding that line, you'll find some key differences between this project and Berkeley's People's Park.

People's Park was politically charged from the start, occupied by activists/radicals/students/and others after a development plan by University of California failed leaving nearly 3 acres covered in rubble and abandoned for a year or so. The site became an ongoing location for public demonstration and activity during a tumultuous era and remains a fixture in Berkeley to this day in no small part because of its legacy as the location for major historical events.

From Wikipedia's summary: "On 13 April 1969, local merchants and residents held a meeting to discuss possible uses for the derelict site. Michael Delacour presented a plan for developing the under-utilized, university-owned land into a public park. This plan was approved by the attendees, but not by the university. Stew Albert, a co-founder of the Yippie Party, agreed to write an article for the local counter-culture newspaper, the Berkeley Barb, on the subject of the park, particularly to call for help from local residents.[5]
Michael Delacour stated, 'We wanted a free speech area that wasn't really controlled like Sproul Plaza was. It was another place to organize, another place to have a rally. The park was secondary.'"

The Beacon Food Forest site is located on land that is managed by Seattle Public Utilities. The plan for the space was initiated and managed by a very focused steering committee who required approval by the city before proceeding with anything. The plan was developed over 3 years with one year of concentrated work by a design team and the community in collaboration with city departments and funded by a grant containing specific requirements from the Department of Neighborhoods. Before breaking ground, Beacon Food Forest has partnered with P-Patch who will bring their management protocols that help community-utilized spaces operate smoothly at locations around the city. This partnership was, in part, the result of a requirement by SPU to have a "responsible entity" act as the umbrella organization for the project. P-Patch will share liability for the project, which is a necessity for SPU, which is accountable to its rate payers.

Furthermore, the site will be developed in methodical phases. The first phase includes only 1.75 acres, which will help test the viability of the project. The requirements placed by all the stakeholders dictate that the Beacon Food Forest must be able to be removed at short notice—i.e., no permanent structures. People's Park has public bathrooms, garbage cans, and facilities, which are strictly prohibited on the Food Forest site. Berkeley also happens to be warm all year with a much larger year-round transient population.

When the facts of these two projects are compared, they have very little in common.

Posted Wed, Feb 22, 9:26 p.m. Inappropriate

Here's a new idea: get work parties of drunks and delinquent dads to farm it.

(That's a history joke, folks.)

Rob K

Posted Wed, Feb 22, 9:28 p.m. Inappropriate

This Food Forest gives me hope that we're going in the right direction. I don't understand the concern about limiting open space. Food is for all too. Isn't it wonderful to use space to grow food? Note to bkochis - remember when we argued about tearing up asphalt when food became valuable enough? I think it is finally coming to pass. :)

dpoarch1

Posted Wed, Feb 22, 9:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Seriously tho, very cool.

I hope the crow guy at the UW did a "before" study of birds in the area.

Rob K

Posted Wed, Feb 22, 11:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Here in Ballard the mulberries are delicious, similar to blackberries but a little more delicious. The tree bears for about four weeks, early to mid summer. I've got a yard full of fruit trees and their shade is particularly inviting on a sunny day.

coldframe

Posted Sat, Feb 25, 4:43 p.m. Inappropriate

This is a great project brought about by dedicated Seattlites. They have proven their diligence by traversing many hurdles so far. By calling it a forest - beyond a garden- they are looking long range. Great work- thankyou for showing us spirit and talent. Congratulations!

mrose

Posted Mon, Feb 27, 5:28 a.m. Inappropriate

Hello! In the heart of the Midwest, in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University, we have been dreaming, building, and sharing an orchard community on city park land for rwo years now, using a permaculture food forest model. I'm so happy to see it happening in Seattle, too! We have long anticipated may others would take similar action. :)

Please visit www.bloomingtoncommunityorchard.org and/or visit our facebook pages:
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=339618282748538&id;=631710068#!/BloomingtonCommunityOrchard https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=339618282748538&id;=631710068#!/groups/350794285870/

Posted Mon, Feb 27, 2:16 p.m. Inappropriate

congratulations, Beacon Hill. It was fun imagining this possibility in 1998 with you all, and now, to see it coming, hurrah!!!!!

Posted Thu, Mar 1, 2:04 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm a nasty, cynical, snarky man with a mean mouth and a deep streak of self loathing who really doesn't think much of our species.

That said, regardless of politics, ideology, or edibility, gardening of any kind is an extraordinarily, deeply satisfying pursuit. If you want to become a better person in vast, subtle ways that are very difficult to describe, just plant something. It doesn't matter, where, why, how, or how much… growing something will make your life better.

rbryanh

Posted Tue, Mar 6, 7:22 p.m. Inappropriate

Absolutely, CommonSense 1, I've eaten (and grown mulberries in El Paso, Texas). Look, some of us aren't wall flowers or web crawlers. I've eaten mulberries in Mexico, in Vietnam, in France, and near, Rice, Washington, at a sustainable farm. That being said, my old man was in US Army, and I was lucky to have been stationed with him in Turkey. Mulberries galore. Seems sort of bizarre to ask about one variety of plant slated for the BFF, CommonSense1, though that "handle" seems to be overreaching, especially since you side with this character BlueLight, who couldn't make it as a RedLight in some of the more un-Seattle cities I've gone to -- think Guatemala City, Mexico City, hell, Marseille or Bogata.

PaulKirk

Posted Tue, Mar 6, 7:25 p.m. Inappropriate

Heck, here's something from the BFF email exchange:

The Beacon Food Forest has truly become a "beacon" and the world is watching.

The attention has brought in literally hundreds of new contacts and possible volunteers. Emails of support and encouragement are coming in from around the USA, Australia, Africa, European nations and New Zealand. We had 1600 hits in one day on our website and the week before we had one day with over 1000 hits. Our facebook page has had a lot of activity and new "Likes" from around the globe.

Here is what is happening.

This very good article started it all.

http://crosscut.com/2012/02/16/agriculture/21892/Nation-s-largest-public-Food-Forest-takes-root-on-Beacon-Hill/

These are good.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/02/29/147668557/seattles-first-urban-food-forest-will-be-free-to-forage

http://grist.org/urban-agriculture/into-the-woods-seattle-plants-a-public-food-forest/

http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/02/21/its-not-fairytale-seattle-build-nations-first-food-forest

If you can read Dutch, we would love a translation.
http://www.demorgen.be/dm/nl/5397/Milieu/article/detail/1401631/2012/02/29/Seattle-krijgt-eetbaar-bos.dhtml

Starts to go down hill here but we are fans of Willy Wonka.

http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/02/27/edible-food-forest-seattle-urban-community-garden

3/2/12...

We did an short interview for CBC radio in Toronto Canada to be broadcasted this last weekend over the whole country.

Interviewed for Weekly Reader in NY, a national children's publication.

Over the last week or two:

The Associated press photographed us at the site.
NPR Food blog, The Salt, see link.
Discover Magazine contacted us about the science behind FF. We referred them to Dave Jacke who wrote the book.

Tom Douglas Company Seattle called to offer their help! Thank you TD!

KOUW is working on a possible Weekday story.

KING 5 wants to cover the ground breaking.

KOMO news 4 has been trying to get together with us but they keep canceling at the last minute, whatever.

Good Magazine in CT has some kind of "daily good" notice they send out.

A California Radio show has Designer Jenny Pell lined up.

Zeitgeist Seattle set up a web page for us. Thanks Zeitgeist!

Capital Hill Times interview.

Several local Food oriented functions are asking for our presence.

Lots on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/beaconfoodforest

And you forwarding this along to friends and family.

With plenty of warning, we will be contacting everyone when it's time to break ground and begin building the BFF this summer and into the fall. The Friends of the Beacon Food Forest sincerely hope you will join in.

Next big meeting is March 22nd, Garden House 2336 15th Ave S. 7 pm.

PaulKirk

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