FoodPlaces is a direct response to the question: “Why not food?”
Over the years, we posed this question at several consecutive annual conferences of the Partners for Community Forestry.
The seed of an idea germinated and took root.
Thanks to the vision of the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, Inhabit Earth received funding from the USDA / U.S. Forest Service to ensure that municipalities anywhere could easily incorporate productive landscapes into the public realm.
What if we could design our urban forests to address a whole slew of ecosocial challenges?
Urban areas and rural communities throughout North America strive to preserve, protect and enhance their urban forests.
However, many are often faced with ever shrinking budgets and the need to be responsive to ecosocial challenges, such as food insecurity, blight, and poverty; competing development interests; and climate destabilization.
The great news is that we can solve for these and the benefits are many well beyond the obvious ecological benefits of urban forests.
Urban food forests, or foodscapes:
- produce food, fuel, fiber, feed (forage/fodder), and “farmaceuticals” (plant-based medicines
- increase community resilience, by emphasizing primary production locally and regionally
- stimulate economic revitalization, by
- creating opportunities for meaningful livelihoods (not just jobs) and
- regenerative enterprise;
- while providing increased food/material security for residents.
- sequester more carbon below ground and in plants than natural forests; and
- inspiring healthy living, connect people with their food, and revive cultural practices around growing and preparing food.
At Inhabit Earth, our goal is to see food growing in every underutilized space – in medians, right-of-ways, parking lots, side of highways, parks, churchyards, empty lots, traffic circles, greens and squares…
In short, EVERYWHERE!
So, we set out to make it as simple as possible for people in communities anywhere to answer in the affirmative:
“Why not food!”
We have carefully designed easy-to-use process that guides users in selecting appropriate productive (edible/useful) plants for any situation, while minimizing liabilities and conflicts inherent when operating in the public realm.
The innovative tools, and accompanying resources, available at FoodPlaces, our open source portal, all but eliminates barriers, such as the need to be intimately familiar with hundreds of productive species of plants before using them.
Here you will find:
- The Plant Wiki – a global, multimedia, wiki-style library of thousands of productive plant species;
- The Species Index – a database of hundreds of perennial productive plants for North America used as a palette for assembling foodscapes;
- The Foodacape Tool – a step-by-step, guided process for assembling foodscapes using innovative pattern-language technology;
a hanful of resources:
- a Glossary – definitions for terms and concepts relevant to foodscapes, productive placemaking and using the FoodPlaces platform
- Foodscape Profiles – an in-depth look at various foodscape templates and on-the-ground examples;
- a Pattern Library – plant types, plant growth forms, climate patterns, visual guides, practices and much more;
- Publications– FoodPlaces toolkit and other related documents;
- Pattern Language OS – a deep dive into how we use pattern language to build FoodPlaces;
- and Perennial Culture – an ethnobotanical exploration of what to do with food everywhere;
and some great features:
- The Understory – a blog with regular posts featuring:
- profiles on productive plants,
- new foodscape patterns for all types of spaces,
- and provocative musings about FoodPlaces;
- FoodPeople – a social-network-style community of practice, where you can
- connect with others,
- share your foodscape experiences, and
- help us crowd source even more wiki entries, database, and foodscape patterns!