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.
Wait Time: 1-2 years

Beacon Food Forest

What is the Beacon Food Forest?
It is a community-driven community garden project that uses 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 Forest Gardens website.

History
(submitted by a Beacon Food Forest volunteer)

The Beacon Food Forest (BFF) is the largest public food forest in the nation. The Beacon Food Forest is located on 7-acres of land owned by Seattle Public Utilities. With Phase 1 completed, 1.75 acres of the BFF are now in community use. The idea for the BFF came in 2009 as the result of a permaculture design course final project. Students in the course brought their idea to life by approaching the City of Seattle for support. The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, P-Patch Community Gardening Program agreed to manage the site with the community.  An initial grant of $22,000 from the Neighborhood Matching Fund of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods was used to hire a design team to draw schematics of the site and conduct community outreach. After a series of community meetings the team presented a final schematic. BFF received a $100,000 from the Parks & Green Spaces Levy and in 2011 began construction for Phase 1. The community applied for and recieved a second Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant from the city for $86,295 to build a gathering/educational space and structures, in partnership with the University of Washington's school of Landscape Architecture on a design build project. The Food Forest Collective and community then applied for and recieved $99,960 additional funds to design and build phase II.  Volunteers broke ground in August of 2018 on Phase 2, which will double the food forest's land area to 3.5 acres.  Visit BFF website for details on phase II .

The Beacon Food Forest has three main priorities:
1. Create a community around growing and sharing food
2. Improve local food security by empowering the community to grow and harvest food on public land
3. Rehabilitate the local ecosystem and biodiversity


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.


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/.

Get Involved!
If you are interested in designing, building, or gardening in this or any other 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.