Are ‘Edible Landscapes’ the Way forward for Public Parks?

Are ‘Edible Landscapes’ the Future of Public Parks?

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

THESMITHSONIANMAG.COM – Imagine walking through an urban public park admiring the trees and flowers. Your stomach starts to growl. You reach up and pick a few plums from the tree above you and chew them as you move on. You might stop later to help a group of volunteers dig up potatoes from the park’s root vegetable garden, put them in boxes, and drive them to the nearby pantry.

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

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


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