31 July 2013

Austin's First PUBLIC Food Forest! Making It a Reality.

Seattle may have gotten their toes in the public food forest waters first, but Austin's diving in right behind! It's one of the first cities in the US to design and move towards establishing a public food forest on city parkland, open for the benefit of the entire neighborhood and ready to serve as a model for similar projects across the rest of the city and nation.
 Austin's Food Forest Volunteer Organization       
East Feast 2022, a volunteer-only organization, has been working within the community of East Austin (the founders and much of the team lives within the community) and with the City of Austin to help realize a food forest within the scheme of the Holly Shores re-design project. It has a small but determined core team and an ever-growing list of new volunteers collaborators, including the Food Is Free Project, East Side Compost Pedallers, East Side Garden Exchange, the Sustainable Food Center of Austin, the Austin Parks Foundation and dozens more.

What started as a vision among a group of residents of East Austin, shared with local food forest enthusiasts and permaculture designers, has been gaining momentum: "Imagine] diverse neighbors from all parts of East Austin celebrating abundant local food and community along the shores of Lady Bird Lake."
Permaculture Food Forest Function
Sketch of Basic Mechanisms of a Food Forest by Samantha Belyeu

"What if we could restore this land and water to health and it could produce healthy food again? What if we could train and hire neighborhood youth to help transform our old fire house to a new resource center where we can work, learn, and experiment together to create and sustain accessible sources of healthy food and healthy living? What if research from this center could help all of Austin and other cities find ways to create communities where life thrives?”

Ongoing community outreach, design workshops and proposals keep this dream alive. If you're in the Austin area and are looking to get involved, check out East Feast 2022 on Facebook. Better yet, drop by August 11th for their Festival Beach Food Forest Community-Design Workshop. We at the Food Forest Retreat will be out there with you!

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