Atlanta Approves Plans for Largest Urban Food Forest in United States

The forest will alleviate food deserts, be within reach of 85 percent of city residents.

Atlanta will transform seven acres of vacant property into the largest urban food forest in the United States.

Atlanta City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to transform these formerly vacant properties into a public park with edible trees, shrubs, vines and groundcover with public gathering spaces, walking trails, community garden beds and a restored forest and stream-side areas .

Councilwoman Carla Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that city residents will be able to pick their own fresh produce from the forest free of charge . The AJC reports the food forest is part of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' plan to ensure 85 percent of city residents are within one-half mile of accessible fresh food by 2021.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as areas vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods...due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers.

Food deserts are most typical in low-income areas and are disproportionately clustered in the southeast.

However, food deserts are very much a national problem and an issue in Pittsburgh. According to the Post-Gazette, 15 million children in the United States live in hunger and 47 percent of Pittsburgh residents live in food deserts.

You can learn more about the Hazelwood Food Forest in Pittsburgh by clicking here .

You can click here to see an interactive map of food deserts in Western Pennsylvania .

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