The Beacon Food Forest, on Beacon Hill just a short drive across the West Seattle Bridge, is worth a visit and provides inspiration for our learning garden. On the hillside west of Jefferson Park, the Beacon Food Forest is an “edible forest garden” full of vegetables, herbs, fruit, and berries free to be foraged and harvested by the public. When I was there recently, preschoolers from an all-outdoor preschool were snacking on an impressive array of greens straight from a garden bed.
A friend and I met with one of the founders of the Beacon Food Forest a couple of weeks ago and took a tour. The idea and initial design came from a permaculture design course and has been made reality through a lot of community support and staged work over time. The diversity of plantings is inspiring and there is plentiful signage to identify plants and educate about the ecosystem of the food forest. I personally love the idea of kids being allowed to explore in the garden, forage, and taste out of sheer curiosity.
The Beacon Food Forest offers field trip tours for school groups. I’ll be asking our teachers if they’re interested. Maybe the kids could do some taste-testing to decide what we plant in our garden in the spring.
Here are a few photos: