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More on the Seattle food forest


Food forests are shaping up to be the next evolution of urban farming. “A food forest is more of a perennial garden; it’s a land management system that’s based on the natural system of a forest,” said Glenn Herlihy. He designed the original plans for the BFF with classmates in a permaculture course in 2009, and, as part of a volunteer steering committee called the Friends of Beacon Food Forest, has been actively involved in nudging it to fruition ever since. While a farm or garden typically comprises rows of annual crops that require a fair amount of hands-on upkeep, a food forest incorporates trees, shrubs, and mostly perennial plants in a way that “mimics the architecture and beneficial relationships between plants and animals found in a natural ecosystem,” according to the Permaculture Institute.

“It’s catching on really fast, this food forest idea,” Herlihy said. “Many people are putting it in their own gardens. I’d been gardening that way my entire life, I just didn’t know what to call it.”

The idea of planting perennials as part of a self-sustaining, holistic system is old hat to many accomplished gardeners. And groups around the country like the Boston Tree Party, San Francisco’s Urban Orchard Project, and City Fruit in Seattle are already dedicated to planting and harvesting from urban fruit trees and orchards. But creating a system on public land that combines the concepts of urban farms, orchards, and natural forest, and depending on collaborative community effort to keep it going, represents uncharted territory for the now-flourishing urban-farming movement.

I love it that Seattle's food forest is right next to a golf course. Buy why not abolish the golf course and do something useful with the land?

Also, when you come to think of it... Weren't guerrilla gardeners the first occupiers?

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