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Families with limited incomes often lack the means to put fresh, nutritious food on the table. In the “land of plenty” a stunning 1 in 6 adults, and 1 in 5 children suffer from poor nutrition and struggle with hunger. In addition to food assistance programs, food banks and other hunger relief groups, American cities are witnessing a growth in urban agriculture and associated non-profits working to fight food insecurity. Each JGP garden consists of three raised beds, soil, seeds, starts for two seasons, growing guide, education program and mentorship. Raised bed vegetable garden typifies that kind of gardens Seattle’s Just Garden Project installs for low-income families. Home and community gardens offer people who struggle with hunger, poor nutrition and even loneliness, the means to experience food security and self-reliance, nutritional sustenance and better health and even stronger social connections.
The definition of “food security” is short: dependable access to adequate and nutritious food to sustain good physical and mental health.
In 2011, a record 46.7 million Americans—or roughly one in four adults — received food assistance from one of 15 federal programs, reports the USDA. Food insecure and low-income people are especially vulnerable to obesity and the health problems associated with it.
GRuB, We partner with youth and people with low-incomes to create empowering individual & community food solutions. GROWINGGARDENS promotes home-scale organic food gardening to improve nutrition, health and self-reliance while enhancing the quality of life and the environment for individuals and communities in Portland, Oregon.
Planting Justice offers a variety of programs related to the development of local, sustainable food systems.
Chicago Botanic Garden Healthcare Garden Design Certificate Program – There’s still time to register! In the Beacon Hill community of Seattle a revolutionary community garden is being developed to feed her people. The seeds of the project were planted in a permaculture design course in 2009 and quickly sprouted into the Friends of the Food Forest group. The project met many obstacles within the system; from confusion over who actually owned the land, to restrictions on roofed structures for meetings and educational purposes, to consultations with invested stakeholders like the police department. If Seattle could provide five percent of its food from within the city, that would be more than almost any other city in the world. The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs — everything will be mutually beneficial to each other.
The creation of the food forest has not been an easy process, but it has plotted the course and identified the obstacles you could encounter along the way.



The lessons to take from the Seattle food forest is the value and necessity of persistence when dealing with a system that is inherently inflexible with the use of its public lands.
So inspired and invigorated to see that there are people in the world looking for the work the needs doing, rather than being robots looking for a job and a wage. The Beacon Food Forest is an ambitious edible garden project in Seattle that aims to provide free food for anyone who wants it.
I was one of the teachers in the Permaculture course that hatched the idea and original design for this project. The project, which is already underway, is set to take several years to fully develop the seven acre plot just 2.5 miles from downtown Seattle.
Not only will the edible forest provide free food to anyone with access to its bounty, but it will also provide healthy fruits and nuts, which are an important part of every diet and can often be unaffordable for families. Programs that support urban and suburban food production are providing low-income families with the skills and tools to grow fresh, local and healthy food.  One such group is Seattle’s Just Garden Project that builds home gardens for eligible families living 200 percent below the poverty line in King County, Washington.
We support low income households for three years with seeds, plants, classes, mentors and more. One of those programs, Transform Your Yard, centers around helping families of all income levels maximize their yard’s productive capacity. Department of Agriculture, Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program Data System, SNAP Participation, 2009 Total SNAP Participants (state by state).
Filiz lives in Seattle and just launched the blog, Nearby Nature, a space devoted to the restorative and healing qualities of gardens, green spaces, and other naturalized urban landscapes. Scofield Company is the oldest, and one of the most trusted manufacturers in the business of Decorative Concrete Manufacturing. The Beacon Food Forest is transforming a previously unused piece of public land into a vibrant food forest filled with hundreds of different varieties of edible plants, fruits and nuts.
Their efforts to involve the neighborhood and their outreach for feedback and support are highly noteworthy. The insecurity and reluctance shown by the public departments of the city only slowed down the project for a moment. Hopefully this project’s success will offer inspiration for others to transform unused and abandoned public spaces.
The seven-acre permaculture forest project is located in Beacon Hill and will eventually contain plants and trees that yield berries, apples, pears, walnuts, chestnuts and persimmon. There are a smattering of Food Forest in other cities, actually Tacoma is planning one too, but it's great that the Beacon project is generating much-needed conversation about how exciting this and how to make it work.


Creating the self-sustaining environment is reliant upon the types of soil, insect life and companion plants placed strategically within the environment. The recipients’ participation in the garden “build outs,” shifts their personal experience with food from one of being a consumer only to being a producer.
They offer great potential for improving household food security and alleviating micronutrient deficiencies. In 2011, Filiz received a post-graduate certificate in Therapeutic and Healing Gardens from the University of Washington, College of Built Environments. The seven acre plot uses perennial crops and sustainable methods rooted in permaculture to create a source of food available to all.
The friends distributed 6000 postcards in five different languages, attended local fairs and held design meetings for input from the public as well as hiring an interpreter for certain members of the Chinese community. The not-for profit community gardens group P-Patch became the organising entity — they paid for the design of the Beacon Food Forest, ensuring the project would go ahead . In her Seattle landscape, she has a vegetable garden, rock garden, woodland garden, perennial garden, mini arboretum, and space devoted to climbers and potted plants. Home and shared-space gardens can enhance food security in several ways, most importantly through: 1) direct access to a variety of nutritionally-rich foods and 2) increased purchasing power from savings on food bills, and income from selling garden harvests. All grow on a site with an interesting horticultural past.Once, this garden's rich loam supported a holly farm.
Then it was cultivated by a notable collector, Loren Grinstead, the plant acquisitions chairwoman for the Washington Park Arboretum during the late 1930s. Grinstead planted such gems as a stately old Himalayan white pine, an immense Camperdown elm, an impressive Sawara false cypress, and a few Exbury azaleas.After Neff and her husband, John, bought the garden in 1992, she hired Sue Skelly and Kelly Dodson ? horticulturists based in Poulsbo, Washington ? to help update it. Skelly supervised replacement of a circular driveway with a rock garden, while Dodson focused on introducing Neff to an array of unusual plants. Gradually, Neff designed and built the rest of the garden with input from friends, family members, and fellow gardeners.



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