In 2011, a seven-acre swath of land was set aside in Seattle, Washington's Beacon Hill neighborhood with a singular purpose — to grow food. What started as a final design project for a permaculture course in 2009 has now, five years later, become the Beacon Food Forest (BFF), though still under development.

A permaculture-based food forest mimics a natural ecosystem with fruit and nut trees as the canopy and berry bushes and other low-lying perennials underneath. Plants are chosen according to site specifics and how they benefit other plants. Nearly all the plants produce food. The basic idea is to grow a lot of food with as little work as possible leveraging the power of nature.

A food forest can also be quite beautiful, and an important community catalyst. The Beacon Food Forest plans include an Edible Arboretum, a Berry Patch, a Community Garden, a Gathering Plaza, a Kid's Area, and a Living Gateway. And all of the garden's free offerings will be produced by the people for the people within spitting distance from downtown Seattle.

Like many urban agriculture teams, the BFF community aims to address land use, public health, environmental awareness, social justice, and food security; but they are going to do it while maintaining the largest public food forest in the U.S. Work parties are happening throughout the summer with a Phase One completion party slated for September 20, 2014. Live in the area? Get involved here.

Kelly McCartney


Kelly McCartney |

Having won prestigious literary competitions in both grade school and junior high, I attended college with a Scripps Howard Foundation scholarship, earned a BA in Journalism, and interned at Entertainment

Things I share: I seek. I write. I think. I roam. I listen. I care. I wonder. I help. I flirt. I try. I dream. I grow.