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Festival Beach Food Forest
Festival Beach Food Forest
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21 Waller Street, Austin, Texas, US
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Austin City Council Approves Edible Landscaping on Public Parkland

Project: Festival Beach Food Forest

Posted by Dana Crawford almost 10 years ago

The Austin City Council unanimously passed an amended version of the Holly Shores Master Plan on the evening of August 28th, which includes Phase One (<1 acre) of the Festival Beach Food Forest!

Austin, TX - It may sound far-fetched, but the newly-passed, 99-acre Holly Shores Master Plan includes an edible forest garden, free and open to the public, on a patch of parkland just east of I-35. Adding to the already bustling local food movement in Austin, the Festival Beach Food Forest (FBFF) is a pilot project to grow fruits, nuts, vegetables and herbs on city-owned land, using novel low-water and low-maintenance methods.

On a household scale, growing food in East Austin is nothing new. Once inhabited by Native Americans, then by German and Swedish farmers, and Mexican American families, the rich soil of the surrounding neighborhoods has supported residents for generations. Today, food forests already provide organic produce and hands-on garden education at several local schools, thanks to the leadership of students and teachers in partnership with the Austin Permaculture Guild and EcoRise Youth Innovations.

Building on this legacy, the East Feast Coalition is working to make larger public agriculture projects easier to establish. The Coalition’s FBFF project envisions 2 acres of parkland transformed into a verdant and productive edible forest - with no fences. Produce will be freely available to neighborhood residents, the RBJ Center food bank, and other members of the public. Urban Patchwork (FBFF’s parent nonprofit), the City of Austin’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program, Urban Forestry Program, and other city officials are collaborating to support the delicious vision.

Neighborhood activists have passionately persevered to protect the natural tranquility and neighborhood character of Holly Shores since the 1970s, and the Master Plan officially protects the area from commercial development. As a community resource, the food forest will be tended by volunteer stewards from surrounding neighborhoods, and independently financed by grants and donations.

The adjacent Festival Beach Community Garden, an FBFF ally, already supports a diverse membership, including members of the Multicultural Refugee Coalition as well as neighborhood residents. In solidarity, FBFF aims to empower all Austin residents with agricultural knowledge through experiential learning.

This low-maintenance approach to agriculture is drawn from ancient methods. By utilizing natural processes and careful design, maintenance requirements for a food forest can drop steadily after the initial landscaping, planting and mulching, reaching stability after about a decade.

For more information, to volunteer, or to request a presentation for your neighborhood association or group, contact the East Feast Coalition at [email protected], or visit www.festivalbeach.org

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Grant Van der Merwe
Grant Van der Merwe : Great stuff!! Now we wait for photo updates! Very inspiring!
Posted over 9 years ago

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