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Seattle’s Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project Strengthens Food Justice and Community

May 23, 2014 | By Leah Wolfe

How would it feel to walk to a nearby garden to pick produce you and your neighbors help grow together? Sounds like a great way to build social and environmental wellbeing! Well guess what...there is an incredible example of community and social justice building via public gardening in Seattle, Washington.

Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood started its groundbreaking (literally and figuratively) "Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project" – a land management system that combines aspects of the native habitat with edible forest gardening – in 2009.

At 7 acres, the Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project is the largest public food forest in the nation, and includes fruit and nut trees, berry shrubs, community garden, gathering plaza, and kids' area. Included on the menu is: plums, apples, walnuts, blueberries, strawberries, kale, and chard! The food forest will be designed using the principles of permaculture, to comprise a whole ecosystem that works in harmony.

Building Community by Growing Local Food Together

The food forest will be a way for people to come together in a neighborhood that is culturally diverse and has a large number of working class people. Children will be able to witness food cultivation and harvest, and learn more about edible foods and plants throughout the seasons.

The food forest also gives individuals in the surrounding community a sense of purpose when sharing in a collective project, parents have a ready excuse to take the kids on a walk and teach them about permaculture and community sharing, the garden is inherently relaxing to stroll through, and the fusion of intentional community activity makes it easier to take time to get much needed fresh air in a world where we spend inordinate amounts of time indoors.

Movement Through Working Together

It requires a passionate vision and hard work to make something like a food forest in a city, but the benefits are immesurable. And the Seattle residents have worked together in a paramount way to make it happen. Volunteer work groups have topped 100 people with local restaurants to donate refreshments, while there are over 8,000 Facebook likes for this undertaking.

We pay tribute to this amazing contribution to the planet.  Check out the video above, and links below to learn more about this inspiring project!

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