Target: Glen Herlihy and Jacqueline Cramer, Co-Founders of Beacon Food Forest
Goal: Support Seattle’s largest urban food forest and a community’s efforts to create local and sustainable food system
Beacon Food Forest is an urban forest garden containing 200 types of edible and useful plants, including nuts, fruit trees, and herbs, all available for public picking. This project embodies social and environmental sustainability by providing equal access to a local, nutritious food source and revitalizing the health of public lands. Commend these efforts to create a sustainable and localized food system.
Located 2.5 miles from downtown Seattle in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, the forest is growing on a seven acre plot of land donated by Seattle Public Utilities, with the help of a $100,000 grant from the city and the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. It has the potential to become the largest forest garden on public lands in the nation.
Beacon Food Forest is a community-grown initiative, as volunteers contributed seeds from all over the world and neighborhood input was highly valued. The project’s co-founders, Glen Herlihy and Jacqueline Cramer, undertook tremendous outreach efforts to raise awareness in the community by mailing thousands of postcards in multiple languages, tabling at events, and posting fliers.
This food forest is based on concepts of permaculture design, meaning it will mimic a self-sustaining forest in the wild. According to the Beacon Food Forest website, all components of the forest will be mutually beneficial. Plants will attract insects to provide natural pest and weed management and add nitrogen and mulch, contributing to soil health. The Beacon Food Forest website notes that, “[together] they create relationships to form a forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food with less.”
According to Falling Fruits, a website which maps publicly available produce in several countries, “Foraging in the 21st century is an opportunity for urban exploration, to fight the scourge of stained sidewalks, and to reconnect with the botanical origins of food.” The forest is expected to open in summer 2013 and yield produce the following year.
The forest will also include a teaching space for workshops on topics such as food preservation and plant identification, community gardening plots, and recreational areas. The creators and volunteers hope this urban food forest will strengthen their community, reunite people with the origins of their food, and encourage environmental stewardship. Sign this petition to express your support for this sustainable initiative that will serve as an important model for urban foraging opportunities.
Dear Mr. Herlihy and Mrs. Cramer,
We thank you for providing a sustainable model of a localized and community supported food system which can be replicated almost anywhere. As stated on your website, your goals of “improving public health, reducing climate impact, and improving the security of local food supplies” are highly admirable.
Beacon Food Forest has the potential to have an enormous impact on communities throughout the country, particularly in food deserts, areas lacking access to healthy and affordable produce and food. Urban food forests can improve food security and unite communities with shared goals and knowledge of the origins of food. We appreciate your efforts to foster social and environmental sustainability in your community and beyond.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jeff Wright via Flickr