Food Forests: A New Form of Urban AgricultureMarch 21, 2012
Have you ever heard of a food forest? I hadn’t, until reading this story from Grist.
This spring, a group of Seattle residents will experiment with a new urban food concept that they’ve been working on since 2009. The food forest will be grown on nine acres of public land owned by the Seattle Public Utilities and will include traditional community garden plots in addition to orchards and “edible arboretums.”
After the initial struggle to get past all the hearings and government approvals, the food forest’s future is in the hands of the community surrounding the land. Residents have expressed interest in the project, but will they be able to collaboratively maintain the forest? The idea is so new that the groups supporting the project don’t even know all the sorts of conflicts that will arise.
Even though a food forest sounds innovative, it sounds like the project will face many of the same challenges as a community garden. The dream of any cooperative undertaking is always utopian: everybody pitching in happily, and everybody has the free time to contribute to the community. Unfortunately we're all balancing community with our individual lives, and successful community projects require strong cooperation and collaboration skills, like the ones we discussed in our Growing Communities workshop back in February.
What do you think? Could Central Ohio viably support a food forest? Do you think that the Seattle project will succeed?