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IPFS News Link • Agriculture

This City Created the Largest Free Food Forest in the Country...

•, By Andy Corbley

There's a seven-acre farm in Atlanta where residents can walk into a forest, take a deep breath, and begin pulling crops right off the land for dinner.

A one-time pecan farm, the Food Forest at Browns Mill project contains 2,500 edible and medicinal plants available to anyone in need.

It's one of a growing number of free-food forests cropping up in cities around the country, as citizens and organizations both public and private attempt to grapple with problems of hunger and food deserts.

In Atlanta, this problem is acute, with the USDA's Food Access Research Atlas estimating that at least one in every four Atlantans, or around 125,000 people, live in areas defined as food deserts based on their geographical distance from grocery stores.

Having created the nation's largest free-food forest, The Conservation Fund, with the assistance of the city of Atlanta and the U.S. Forest Service, is ensuring this former pecan-farm continues its tradition of feeding the community.

Located in Browns Mill, only 10 minutes from Atlanta airport, the nearest grocery store for the 2,100 residents in that area a 30-minute bus ride away.

"Access to green space and healthy foods is very important. And that's a part of our mission," Michael McCord, a local arborist, told CNN.

The scheme is utilizing practices known collectively as permaculture, and specifically as "agroforestry"—a term that describes marrying the forest and the field in a way that benefits both, as well as the global and local climate. GNN has reported extensively on agroforestry in the US, and in the UK.

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