Instead of developing it into townhouses, the City of Atlanta recently voted to transform a vacant, old, overgrown pecan farm into a food forest. The 7-acre public park will feature fruit-producing trees, shrubs and vines along walking trails, a community vegetable garden and restored native forest and stream-side areas by 2020. The vegetable garden has already been planted alongside preexisting walnut and pecan trees. More than 100 fruit trees have also been planted including figs, apples, plums and peaches.
By Melissa Hellman for Yes! Magazine. For two months in 2012, longtime Iola, Kansas, resident Mary Ross trudged through the sweltering heat, waving gnats from her view as she walked door to door with a petition. It was the hottest summer since moving there with her family about 30 years ago, but Ross was determined to gather signatures requesting a grocery store be established in the small rural town of fewer than 6,000 people. Iola had lost its last independent grocery store four years earlier, shortly after the Wal-mart Supercenter—with its own expansive aisles—came to town and drove out all of the competition. “I live in a small town. That was my choice,” she says. But since Iola’s three smaller grocery stores went out of business, she has to drive 8 to 20 miles to find healthy food choices and the specific ingredients for her home-cooked meals.