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This City Created the Largest Free Food Forest in the Country, Where Anyone Can Pick Fruits and Veggies

There is a seven-acre farm in Atlanta where residents can walk into a forest, take a deep breath, and start pulling crops from the ground for dinner.

Shannon Lee, Conservation Fund Purpose Parks Program

The Food Forest at Browns Mill project, a former pecan farm, contains 2,500 edible and medicinal plants available to anyone in need.

Is one of an increasing number of food-free forests emerging in cities across the country, as citizens and organizations, both public and private, try to grapple with the problems of hunger and food deserts.

In Atlanta, this problem is acute, with the USDA Estimate from the Food Access Research Atlas that at least one in four Atlantans, or about 125,000 people, lives in areas defined as food deserts based on their geographic distance from grocery stores.

Having created the largest food-free forest in the country, The Conservation Fund, with the help of the City of Atlanta and the US Forest Service, old pecan farm it continues its tradition of feeding the community.

Right next to the door

Urban Forest Foods at Browns Mill /Facebook

Located in Browns Mill, just 10 minutes from Atlanta Airport, the closest grocery store for the 2,100 residents in that area, 30 minutes by bus.

“Access to green spaces and healthy food is very important. And that’s part of our mission, ”said Michael McCord, a local arborist, he told CNN.

The scheme is using practices known collectively as permaculture, and specifically as “agroforestry,” a term that describes linking forest and field in a way that benefits both, as well as the global and local climate. GNN has reported extensively on agroforestry In the USA, Y in the United Kingdom.

Already filled with large, mature nut trees and blackberry brambles, the conversion process was enough to create some space under the trees with which to grow row crops and cover crops, and to clear unused shrubs to replace them. by other crops.

The community, corporate and nonprofit partners involved in the project have committed more than 1,000 volunteers.

“It’s really a park for everyone,” Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith told CNN. “Every time I go, there is a community that respects and appreciates fresh and healthy food. There’s a mindset that people know they should only take what they need. “

PLUS: The Spanish city is squeezing green electricity from leftover oranges

Reports of people taking more than they need are rare, and the food that is left over will be collected by full-time volunteers and distributed throughout the community.

According to the Conservation fund, gardening and cooking classes are being held to help teach community members about healthy food, and the project includes community gardens that more enterprising visitors can use.

Your project map reveals the scope of the project, with cultivation of mycelium for edible mushrooms, promenades and an apiary for the production of honey.

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It is a project that transmits the most solid of democratic sympathies; dating back to the likeness of the Athenian Agora, or public square, where community members would make intentional efforts to create a flourishing society through specialization and mutual exchange.

CHECK OUT: Startup builds 3 huge indoor farms in Appalachia and turns coal country into an agricultural hub

With 70 such forests growing in the country, American cities promise to have a bright green future.

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