So the very first thing that ran through my mind upon hearing about an "edible forest" was Willy Wonka. Tall timbers made of delicious dark chocolate. Crunchy, sweet. Unending. Visions of Augustus Gloop leaning just a bit too far into a river made of cocoa...
Could it be true? We've finally achieved streams of chocolate? And, I imagine, flowers and leaves as well? Yes!!!
But! The edible forest that is becoming a reality is a marvelous idea in its own right.
A 7-acre urban garden will soon sprout right in the middle of a Seattle neighborhood, bursting with all sorts of food-bearing trees and bushes. And now for the very best part: It will all be free and open to the public, who can come and pick all they want -- like a living, breathing extension of a supermarket aisle.
“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” said the project's lead architect, Margarett Harrison.
So what sorts of goodies can you stock up on without taking out your wallet? Kind of everything. Take Part reports that the free food forest will include, "walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more."
Ground-breaking for the edible forest is set for this summer. And it really is open to anyone, no matter how hungry -- or greedy -- they are.
"People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries?’ That could very well happen," Harrison said. "But maybe someone needed those blueberries. We look at it this way -- if we have none at the end of blueberry season, then it means we’re successful."
A bit Pollyannaish? Sure. But we respect the glass-half-full mentality. It takes a good bit of optimism and effort to turn something straight out of a healthier version of 'Willy Wonka & The Choclate Factory' into reality. The edible forest: No longer the stuff of 'Pure Imagination.'