Funded in part by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and maintained by dozens of volunteers, the Beacon food forest contains fruit and nut trees, mulberry bushes and snack paths of strawberries to create an edible forest. With permaculture principles at the forefront of the project (a word developed to describe “permanent agriculture,” an holistic philosophy that brings together living systems, first defined in the 1970s), the design gives consideration to how natural features—including soil, rainwater, insects, and the new plants and trees on the site—will work together. Alongside the Food Forest, separate areas have been set aside for individual garden plots and larger shared garden spaces, using a P-Patch Seattle Community Garden Program.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A food forest is a holistic land management system based on the natural systems of the forest. Incorporating trees, shrubs, and perennial plants in a way that mimics the structure and beneficial relationships between plants and animals found in a natural ecosystem. It is a low cost and low maintenance strategy for a public park.