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Are ‘Edible Landscapes’ the Future of Public Parks?

Posted on Nov 18 2020 - 10:00am by UOG


In Seattle, volunteers transformed seven acres of grass next to a busy road into the Beacon Food Forest. (Flickr user Jeff Wright)

THESMITHSONIANMAG.COM – Imagine strolling through an urban public park, admiring the trees and flowers. Your stomach starts to rumble. You reach up and pluck a few greengage plums from the tree overhead, and munch them as you continue walking. Later, perhaps, you stop to help a group of volunteers dig up potatoes from the park’s root vegetable garden, to be placed in crates and cycled to the nearby food pantry.

A growing movement of gardeners, food activists, landscape designers, urban planners and others is encouraging us to think “edible” when it comes to public green space. Flowers are pretty, they say, but if those blossoms become apples or zucchini, isn’t that even better?

“Public food landscapes can transform public spaces from being passive scenes to view or experience at a relatively superficial level,” says Joshua Zeunert, a landscape designer and professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney who studies edible public spaces.


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