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Seattle To Build Edible Park

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Seattle, WA.-Think of it as the healthy version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  Gardeners in Seattle are planning to create an edible forest.  Gary Chittim explains how it works.

The first signs of the approaching fruitful season are already blossoming in Seattle. This year they announce the beginning of what will bring the nation's largest public food project to the heart of the city.

"This spot right here we're calling the edible arboretum."

When designer Jenny Pell looks at this vast expanse of this city park she sees a forest of food where neighbors plant, grow and tend to a public farm.

"Kids playing in the kids areas and snacking on delicious berries."

"Actually, we've had food growing in our parks for years and it's pretty tasty too but for some reason people have been reluctant to just dive right in to this offering."

So the beacon food forest will open up the menu.

"A number of nut trees, fruit trees, many perennial type of fruit bearing bushes, grapes, herbs."

A group of local gardeners has convinced the city to let them make this park and Seattle the home to the largest public food forest in the country.

"Community members can it happen they take a what sounds like a crazy idea and really achieve it."

Phase one of the beacon food forest begins this spring with sod busting for a new pea patch and acres of food producing plants. Phase two will make the largest public food forest in the country. Pell's design has attracted an international following.

"All over the world, we've had feedback from New Zealand, Australia, India all over Europe people just chiming in saying we want them in our cities too."

It's all based on the idea of residents investing their sweat and skills public places where the public can eat. People are invited to eat what they want with respect to others....it's worked for 40 years in the cities dozens of pea patches , this group feels it's time to take it the next level.

The project is paid for a by a grant from a park levy passed in 2008 and will reduce costs by turning maintenance of the park over to the neighbors.