Food Forest Parks

In the modern world, fantasy can become reality. We are able to see inside our refrigerators without having to open them and can buy nearly any, if not all, products we can think of, at 2:00am without having to leave our beds. While most of our modern fantastical reality tends toward the world of sci-fi, there is still plenty of room for romantic fairy-tale style aspects to the world around us. A food forest park (or garden for those outside the US) is a place of such imagery.

Power-walking to work, realizing that you forgot to eat breakfast, you snatch an apple and a couple of pears to snack on. Perhaps you decide to take a break from studying with a friend, sitting down, you look up and see some grapes on a vine trained up a tree. You pick some and share. No one looks with scorn or scolds, the park is designed this way. The park is a food forest with permaculture influences. The ability to pick fruit or nutritious food off of a plant feels very fairy-tale. Think about the pictures we create of fairies; they also seem to be a part of nature and are able to sustain themselves with whatever grows around them.

While it isn’t possible to feed everyone in this manner, it seems far more sensible to be using the space we do have in a more productive manner. Why have a park that needs to be carefully maintained and weeded when it could be designed to reflect nature to produce food or habitat for wildlife? While having a very manicured lawn with strict design requirements was once a show for the wealthy to express how powerful they were, today it is no great feat to have a lawn. After all, nearly everyone who has a single family home in the US has a lawn, and some are required to have one. In fact it may be considered a bit boring to have a regular lawn of grass. It would be far more interesting to have a lawn filled with wildlife, food to eat, and flowers for vases inside the home (and cheaper than store-bought flowers). Perhaps I am a bit of a romantic at heart, but I think it would be a beautiful whimsy to take an afternoon stroll, pluck a fruit to eat or a vegetable to nibble, and have no one care because public food forest would have become the norm. What do you think?

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