Eat Street Trees! promotes the planting and eating of edible urban forests. (The fruit of some trees can be drunken; for example, the green walnut is a primary ingredient in the Italian liquer nocino.) This project was developed while eating the fruits (and nuts) of Berkeley's street trees. We would like to see edible urban forests and one strategy to accomplish this goal is the Edible Pocket Woodland. Here is some background.
Much of the discussion of urban agriculture focuses on annual crops or herbaceous perennials, the types of food grown in home gardens, community gardens, and sold at farmers markets. Fruits are sold in markets but tend to be rare in home and community gardens in contrast to the amount of vegetables that are grown. The addition of fruit and nut trees to the landscape offers tremendous ecosystem benefits ranging from climate cooling and rainwater capture to wildlife forage to local food provision.
The specific proposal is the Edible Pocket Woodland or the (in) tended integration of habitat and ecosystem services with food provision in neighborhood settings. Annuals and herbaceous perennials are included but are not the dominant vegetation type, The concept is inspired by Robert Hart's "forest garden," Hoving's "vest-pocket park," and Sara Stein's "pocket woods."
The arrangement of plants would mimic the layers found in a forest ecosystem similar to Hart's design. The scale and location of the Edible Pocket Woodland within the urban fabric is modeled after the vest-pocket park; it requires small parcels within a neighborhood setting. Finally, the aesthetic would be reminiscent of Stein's pocket woods; a wooded landscape but one that keeps safety concerns at the fore by allowing views through and around the taller vegetation.
We are collecting photographs (and stories and recipes) of edible street trees. Please submit your photo(s) to info AT localecology.org. Enjoy!
|Black locust flowers, near Ostbahnhof, along the banks of the Spree River, courtesy of Berlin Plants (source)|
|Plum tree, Russell Street, Berkeley|
|Redbud (Cercis canadensis), Churchill Square Park (NYC). Flowers and seeded pods are highly nutritious (hat tip: A Year With the Trees).|
|Loquats, Los Angeles, courtesy of Heather Parlato (read Heather's essay at LAist)|
|Chestnuts (Castanea sativa), Greenwich Park, courtesy of Tom Turner/Gardenvisit.com (Read Tom's essay at gardenvisit.com)|
|Serviceberry, LaGuardia Place, New York City|
|Green walnut, Parker Street, Berkeley|
|Olive, Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley|
|Sour orange, Italy, courtesy of Katydid on the Street|
|Sour orange, Sevilla|
|Sour orange, Sacramento|