|OK In Health - Environmental Care|
It’s Not a Fairytale: Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest - April 2012
Hungry? Just head over to the park.
Forget meadows. The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking.
Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.
“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.
The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.
That the plan came together at all is remarkable on its own. What started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right.
“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,” writes Robert Mellinger for Crosscut
Neighborhood input was so valued by the organizers, they even used translators to help Chinese residents have a voice in the planning.
So just who gets to harvest all that low-hanging fruit when the time comes?
“Anyone and everyone,” says 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.”
Hungry? Just head over to the park. Seattle's new food forest aims to be an edible wilderness.
Environment Care's Bio: OK In Health started a GREEN wellness e-Magazine in 2004. We wanted to start a magazine that was completely green with a zero footprint.
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Description: The advantage of making your own healthy homemade granola is that you can avoid some of the hydrogenated fats and corn syrup found in many of the commercial brands. Granola made this way is also a heart-healthy snack food because of the relatively low fat content and the vitamins and minerals supplied by the grains, seeds, nuts and fruits. Oats and other grains are rich in magnesium and other minerals and vitamins which help keep cholesterol low. This recipe I like because of the blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses is a very good source of iron. Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with blackstrap molasses is a good idea--especially because, in comparison to red meat, a well known source of iron, blackstrap molasses provides more iron for less calories and is totally fat-free. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
So, granola can be a quite healthy as part of a diet rich in natural grains and vegetables - and as a welcome treat for when you are working or playing extra hard.