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Turning City Parks into Food Forests

People all over the world spend millions of dollars on their grass and flower gardens each year. Beautiful blossoms and manicured lawns might be aesthetically pleasing, but they really serve little practical value. With the recent economic drama and high rates of inflation, many people are realizing that not growing your own food is like throwing money away. The rising cost of food prices, globally, can sway a government on how they allocate their resources, which can lead to Countries Falling into a Protracted Crisis, especially in developing nations, see more about this in our report.

Public food forest

Utilizing home gardens to produce additional food for the family is a great idea and a trend that is making a comeback, and some cities are getting in on the action as well, allowing permaculturalists to design food forests where grassy fields used to lie.

Several communities in the Pacific Northwest of the United States are taking the lead, with several new projects going ahead in the state of Washington. The Tacoma Food Forest and the Fruit Tree Steward Program in Mt Vernon, Seattle are offering participants from the community the opportunity to get their hands dirty, and learn about permaculture and gardening at the same time.

Kelda Miller, owner of Vibrant Life Permaculture, who is managing the project at Tacoma’s Swan Creek Park said: “Metro Parks has been wondering for a while how to use the location to serve the community.” She continued: ”Several members of the permaculture community, including some who designed a theoretical food forest at the site as part of a permaculture course a few years ago, suggested the idea at a recent master planning meeting. We’re so happy with the Metro Parks decision!”

Food forests are great for bringing communities together. Not only that they make use of otherwise vacant land, and build sustainable habitats for insects and wildlife, and create areas the capture and utilize rainfall rather than letting it all wash away into creeks and estuaries and out to sea.

It is our hope here at Ideas For Good that our local Australian Councils will allow our local communities the opportunity to build food forests as well.  The Melbourne city council has recently allowed one keen group of Australian Permaculturalists to turn part of a park on Farnham Street in Flemington into a food forest. After a 3-day blitz a large group of avid gardeners transformed the dull grassland into a lush area surrounded by fruit and olive trees.

“It would be great if more parks all around Australia could be made into usable spaces like this!” Said one enthused permaculturalist who had travelled all the way down from Brisbane to help out with transformation of the park. “We don’t have anything like this up in Brisbane, where I come from.” He continued.

Food forests are a good idea for a number of reasons. Not only do they help bring communities together but they teach people skills, responsibilities and they give back to the community in the form of free food for everyone! Permaculture methods mean that limited inputs are needed so expenses to maintain the parks are low, and everyone involved benefits.

The team here at Ideas for Good wants to bring the idea of the creation of food forest to the public to build momentum towards the movement. In a arid and extreme climate like the one we experience here in Australia, communities all over the country could benefit from knowledge of permaculture methods. If you’d like to find out more about permaculture in your local community take a look on Facebook to find out about local groups in your area.


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