Seattle Plans for Nation's Biggest 'Food Forest'

The 2-acre lot is a new spin on urban agriculture

Seattle is home to lots of foodie havens — like Pike Place Market, the Metropolitan Grill, and the original Starbucks to start — but the city's newest initiative, Beacon Food Forest, may transform it into a locavore mecca.

The buzzed-about food forest, a two-acre plot in the middle of the Beacon Hill neighborhood, would be the largest food forest in the nation, the Associated Press reports. The area will include fruit and nut trees for residents to pick from, plus community gardens for families and community groups to harvest on their own. So far, $100,000 has been allocated to the forest, which will be run by a local community garden nonprofit, P-Patch.

So what exactly is a food forest? According to the Beacon Food Forest's web site, it's a land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem, but uses edible trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals instead. Ideally, this combination of plants will form a "forest garden relationships able to produce high yields of food with less maintenance." The food sources included in their plans are apples, plums, walnuts, huckleberries, and more.

Seattle isn't the first to try out a larger food forest; Pittsburgh's Hazelwood Food Forest, which opened in 2010, grows hazelnut, mulberries, blueberries, and currants. Syracuse, N.Y. has also dabbled in community gardens to serve its residents.

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