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City fights food desert with forest of free produce

A massive urban food forest is growing up among the heavily trafficked streets of Atlanta, USA to provide fresh produce for the public.

But what exactly is a food forest?

In the fight against food deserts -- low income areas that lack access to fresh, whole foods -- a food forest is a public space in the city where fresh produce will grow in trees, bushes, plants, and community garden beds for the community to enjoy.

And at 7.1 acres, the site in Atlanta will become the city's first and the nation's largest.

In the Lakewood-Browns Mill community, which will house the Urban Food Forest, more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the USDA, who has assisted in the project.

A city ordinance passed in the beginning of the month grants money for the city to purchase the plot from the Conservation Fund, which currently owns and has helped develop the land.

The ordinance states that the city plans to “transform these formerly vacant properties into a public park with edible trees, shrubs, vines and groundcover” with “public gathering spaces, walking trails, community garden beds and a restored forest and stream-side areas.”

In addition to community outreach and education, the forest is meant to advance the city's goal of putting 85% of residents within a half mile of fresh food by 2021.

Numerous organizations and local government departments including Parks and Recreation, National Parks Service, Trees Atlanta and Concrete Jungle are collaborating to develop, design and maintain the project.

Credit: Madeline Holcombe, CNN


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