Beacon Food Forest

Address: 15th Ave S & S Dakota St

Features

  • Accessible Raised Beds
  • Demonstration Gardens
  • Giving Garden(s)
  • Honeybee
  • Meeting Space outdoor (with seating and cover)
  • Orchard
  • Public Art

About The P-Patch

Number Of Plots: 27
Established: 2014
Size: 27,000 sq. ft.

Beacon Food Forest

What is the Beacon Food Forest?
It is a community-driven community garden project that utilizes a gardening technique that mimics a woodland ecosystem using edible trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials, and annuals make up the lower levels. The project is located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood on the Jefferson Park reservoir (15 Ave S and S Dakota St).

A Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees are the upper level, while below are berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals. Companions or beneficial plants are included to attract insects for natural pest management while some plants are soil amenders providing nitrogen and mulch. Together they create relationship to form a forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food with less maintenance. Learn more about food forests at the Edible Food Gardens website.

Get Involved!
For more information and to find out how to get involved with the Food Forest part of the community garden, go to http://beaconfoodforest.org/.

If you are interested in designing, building, or gardening in this P-Patch or another P-Patch, find out more about the P-Patch sign-up process here. To sign up as a P-Patch participant, call 206-684-0264, email p-patch.don@seattle.gov, or sign up online.

History
(submitted by a Beacon Food Forest volunteer)

The Beacon Food Forest started in 2009 as a final design project for a permaculture design course. The site chosen is a 7-acre area which is currently all grass, on the western terraced slopes of what was thought to be Jefferson Park but in reality is owned by Seattle Public Utilities. The design was then presented to the community of Beacon Hill, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, and Seattle Public Utilities to see if there was support for such a project. Support was granted in the form of a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods for $22,000 in December of 2010 to hire a design consultant and create a schematic design for a food forest. In March of 2011 the Friends of Beacon Food Forest hired The Harrison Design Team consisting of Margarett Harrison, Jenny Pell, Dave Boehnlein, and Kris Pendleton. After a series of community meetings the team presented a final schematic (viewable here). In December 2011 the project received a $100,000 award from the Parks & Green Spaces Levy for design and construction for a 1-acreportion of the food forest.

The Beacon Food Forest has three main priorities:
1. Create a community around food
2. Educate the community about growing food
3. With those two goals in place, harvest the food

Why is this project important?
As one of the first large-scale public food forests, this garden has captured the imaginations of people all around the world with visions of how communities can come together in urban places to grow food and revitalize the landscape with community gardening permaculture practices.

How was the community involved?
This project is a significant grassroots effort, initiated and driven by community members. A group of friends and neighbors initiated the idea of a food forest in this location. With funds from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the group launched a community design process and invited neighbors and permaculture enthusiasts from around the region to participate. Hundreds of people have participated in all aspects of its vision, design, and construction. Hundreds more participated in work parties to build the food forest with tasks ranging from spreading woodchips to installing a water system. Community volunteers are responsible for ongoing stewardship and maintenance of the garden.