The city of Atlanta just turned a former “food desert” into a “food forest” that will provide its citizens with free, organic nuts, veggies, fruits, mushrooms, and herbs.
Instead of building more townhouses, the city of Atlanta recently voted to transform an old, vacant, overgrown pecan farm into a food forest.
The 7-acre public part will feature shrubs and vines along walking trails, fruit-producing trees, a community vegetable garden, stream-side areas, and a reserved native forest by 2020.
They’ve already planted the vegetable garden alongside preexisting pecan and walnut trees. Over 100 fruit trees have also been planted that include peaches, apples, plums, and figs.
The plans also include a rainwater collection system, community composting facility, a medicinal mushroom walk, and an apiary to house bees for pollination.
The city purchased the land for around $150,000 from the conservation fund, which will also be helping to maintain the park in the future.
They plan to replicate the food forest in several locations throughout Atlanta, where a third of the land is classified as a “food desert” by the USDA and a quarter of their citizens live more than a half-mile from fresh fruits and vegetables.
“The opportunity to replicate this is already coming up. The Parks Department is thinking about it,” said Stacy Funderburke, an acquistion associate the Conservation Fund.
“It’s great to fast-forward five years from now. What if there were five of these food forests sprinkled around Atlanta? There could be. There’s enough land. It’s more about showing it’s possible.”