What Exactly IS a Food Park?

eli food park

Imagine your typical city park or unused urban space transformed into an ecological paradise with abundant fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and native wildlife. Imagine this being done organically, without much expense, as aesthetically pleasing as a botanical garden, and grown by the community……….. Welcome to a Food Park.

Our focus is social “aid to empowerment” through our co-operative nursery and Food Park Model and Training Center. We train people how to plant permanent bio-diverse food systems which restore our planets resources, give us nourishing food, and become more fertile every year with less maintenance.

The Park is drafted using principles from a design science called Permaculture. Permaculture is a whole systems approach to solving environmental crisis on a local level. It is an ecological movement which regenerates damaged land back to abundant life and fertility. It involves the ways humans interact with their environment to increase their quality of life. Permaculture includes all aspects of life, including but not limited to agriculture, water management, waste management, green building, and efficient use of energy. Permaculture inspired human settlements and projects result in a life that grows more abundant over time with less labor and utilizes wasted resources so there is no resultant pollution. See “permacculture” in the main menu for more details.

The Food Park Project is given shape by a team of experienced Permaculture designers. These designers train community leaders both at our training center and at the Food Park site within their community. We will help anyone that wishes to enjoy the freedom and security of a Food Park how to accomplish it. Any land, no matter its condition or size, can be made into a fertile Food Park. Where an abundance of organic, local, low maintenance, nutrient dense food can be grown. It’s a no brainer…. The community gets to grow organic food locally which does not rely on costly irrigation or harmful chemicals. Stabilizing and regenerating both the health of the people and of the land they live on.

These food parks provide added economic help and aesthetic beauty to the city while securing local high quality food for it’s inhabitants. This Food Park idea, sometimes called “edible forest gardens” or “food forests”, is being implemented on a global scale from small remote villages in Africa, to school yards, to densely populated metropolitan cities. In the U.S.A. places like Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and Sante Fe already have functional food spaces well underway. Jacksonville can lead the way with these important, productive, and fun food security systems due to its large size, good climate, and abundant green space.

We have a 3 year old urban Food Park model and other projects underway (see “Projects”). Our next step is to create a large model in downtown Jacksonville. This larger model downtown will allow access for any community, business, restaurant, church, or individual to come and learn how its done from the ground up.

We document with photographs, journals, and video to provide timeless learning tools for others of how to grow these Food Park  freedom systems in Jacksonville.

Attached to and one of the hearts of the system is the Plant Nursery. With the right plants (and enough of them) large areas of degraded land can be reclaimed and made fertile once again…. we have ALOT of planting to do!…