Community gardens 2.0: Beacon Food Forest, Seattle
From "Introducing the Edible Forest" from the Lempert Report:
Once considered novel, community gardens are now an everyday part of the urban food landscape. Mini city farms are flourishing too, popping up everywhere – on the rooftops of business, in backyards, in school fields and in parks. Now, some locavores are taking the concept a step further, planting edible forests in public spaces for all to enjoy.
The Beacon Food Forest is currently being developed in Seattle adjacent to the west side of Jefferson Park. The goal? To grow enough nutritious food for everyone in need, to inspire other urban communities to build food forests, and to empower the community with knowledge by having a shared local food source.
There are many layers to a food forest. The top story is a fruit or nut tree that is surrounded by a shrub layer. The next layer is a perennial layer. The bottom layer is the microsphere below the soil. Each plant and layer has multiple functions to support nutrient uptake, fix soil nutrients and nitrogen levels, accumulate biomass and mulch, attract native pollinators and even attract humans to help maintain the garden. The results are higher yields, healthier soil, better plant diversity and a garden that is more resilient to pests.
I've written in the past suggesting that trees in planting strips and miscellaneous bits of land be planted as fruit and nut trees. A number of communities have urban orchard projects.
In our backyard, which might not be big enough, we lost one of our big trees. We're debating on what to put in its place. (We have blackberries nearby, but haven't been successful so far with blueberries and raspberries.) After seeing a huge pecan tree in a yard on the Eastern Shore, I've been thinking about planting one. I don't know if we could also fit in a fruit tree.
-- "Pecan trees in public squares in Texas"
-- Edible Landscaping webpage, National Gardening Association
-- Philadelphia Orchard Project
-- Backyard Orchardist book
-- Backyard Berry Book