A Food Forest Grows in Boston?

Imagine yourself in a Garden of Eden, pulling ripe fruit off trees, popping sweet berries in your mouth, or grabbing handfuls of flavorful herbs. Now picture that this edible paradise is practically in your own urban backyard. That is the rough vision for a future food forest garden in the greater Boston area: to create a space where community can connect through the growing, sharing, and enjoyment of hyper-local food—from forest to table!

Reap the benefits

To get this harvest party started, a project called the Boston Food Forest Coalition is in its early days of locating a demonstration site for a food forest. This site would offer a place for urban dwellers to learn food-growing skills from experts, get access to healthy food, and gather together in an edible oasis. Other goals of the coalition are to reclaim and restore pre-existing community fruit and nut trees already growing here in Boston—and increasing education about how and where to harvest this civic fruit so none of the bounty goes to waste.

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A young backyard food forest in Dorchester, MA

 

What is a food forest?

In a nutshell, it is a sustainable land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem, replacing your usual forest plants with food-producing trees and shrubs. The upper level includes fruit and nut trees, the middle level is packed with berry shrubs and vines, while the lower level features herbs and edible perennials. Working together with plants that control pests and build soil nutrients, this diverse collection forms functional relationships that, over time, maximize food yields while reducing the need for human maintenance.

A few examples of existing food forests include Seattle’s Beacon Hill Food Forest, the NY Times-featured Paradise Lot in Holyoke, and Wellesley College’s Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden.

Onwards and upwards

As the saying goes, the best time to plant a fruit tree is 20 years ago. Guess when the next best time is? Now.

If this is an idea that piques your passion, we welcome your participation! The BFFC is currently in the process of reaching out to other urban agriculture endeavors, such as the Egleston Community Orchard and Festival Gardens, to expand our network and include everyone that is energized by this work. Feel free to email Allison.ding@gmail.com to get involved in any way, large or small.

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Food Forests – food for the future? | Food sovereignty reflections

  2. Pingback: This blog grew thanks to many. | FoodDayMA

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