Atlanta has turned a large seven acre area of unused land in the county’s largest largest free food forest!
Atlanta’s City Council has just voted in favor of converting this vacant space into the state of Georgia’s first food forest.
The unanimous decision paves the way for plans to go ahead and create what could be potentially, the country’s largest free food forest.
$0 Charge For Food!
Atlanta plans to convert the unused land into a FREE food paradise. The project, dubbed The Urban Food forest, will be made available to everyone, with absolutely no cost.
Edible trees, vines and shrubs will be on offer in the forest in addition to more traditional community garden beds that resemble allotments.
The state want to clarify that it’s not all about food too. There is an abundance of public walking trails, gathering and picnic spaces and many other features too.
Imagine just strolling into your local park and simply picking the fruit from the trees and eating them as you go… except this is much much larger than your standard park!
The unused land is owned by environmental group, The Conservation Fund, and is to be sold to the city of Atlanta for $157,384 – a very precise figure indeed.
The land was left abandoned after a failed business venture in the area and the environmental group acquired the land. In order to protect the land and to save it becoming more industrial, the group held on to it and left it in the state it was.
It has actually been rumored that the Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill has been in the works for some time now. Since November 2016, in fact, when the city accepted an $86,150 grant from the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest and Open Space program.
There’s still plenty more funding where they came from though. Trees Atlanta has secured $121,500.00 in funding and plans to employ two part-time workers including a Forest Ranger and a Community Workforce Educator.
The Importance of Food
Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation are the governing body what will be overseeing the completion of the property and the protection of trees in the Urban Food Forest.
Atlanta has a goal to ensure 85 percent of the city residents are within half a mile of fresh food access by 2021, strengthening the local food economy,
The Urban Food forest is promising to provide plenty of food bushes, trees and shrubs, and it will be completely free to anyone who wants to visit.
Given that almost 36% of Atlanta was classified as a food desert in 2017, and almost a quarter of the residents must travel more than half a mile just to purchase some fresh produce, the new free food forest may become an integral part of the city.
Atlanta has the potential to become the first of many US cities that push for legislation focusing on the physical and mental well being of their residents. We can only hope that other cities in the US and around the world convert vacant lands into productive spaces like that in Atlanta. This can truly benefit everyone, not just the large organizations as most legislation normally does.