Free food for all, isn’t that most people’s dream come true? This idea is actually a reality; it’s simply a case of knowing where to look!

Spaces known as “Edible parks”, “Urban food forests” and “Urban Orchards” are increasingly popping up in Urban areas particularly in the US, UK and Canada. This movement has emerged from a culture of communities and organisations, proactively reclaiming urban spaces and transforming them into functional, productive community hubs which is an exciting and eco-friendly development.

2012 saw the development of Seattle’s first urban food forest, Beacon Food Forest which has this year opened to the public. The park is currently in its first phase of development but will cover an impressive seven acres once completed. The parks design utilises the permaculture method of planting which will create a very sustainable and productive ecosystem providing tonnes of free produce for local residents and visitors alike. Plants range from fruit and nut trees through to herbs and vegetables so there will be a decent variety for foragers. Foragers will be encouraged to only take what they need, however “thieves gardens” with lower grade crops will be provided for those who wish to take more.

Projects like the Beacon Food Forest provide a low impact solution to the shortfall in allotments, the increasing expense of food and the disintegration of societies and community spirit. Locally grown produce and food which is grown in this natural way is also more eco-friendly because it minimises carbon emissions during transportation, packaging and storage.

A few similar projects currently exist in the UK including the Union Street Urban Orchard, London and Grow Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

To check out some of the main urban food forestry projects throughout the UK, US and Canada

Visit:  http://urbanfoodforestry.org/

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