You can have your park and eat it, too: designing a public food forest for a Winnipeg park
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The industrialization and commodification of the food system has brought about unintended environmental, social, and psychological consequences: ecosystems have been degraded, food-related traditions and social ties have been lost, and food illiteracy is on the rise as urbanized society becomes increasingly distanced from the processes of food production. Urban agriculture can address these concerns by providing opportunities to connect communities, promote food literacy, and create a demand for more sustainable food production. Introducing urban agriculture to public parks could diversify park programming and increase public engagement with food production. However, parks can be challenging urban agriculture sites due to their aesthetic standards and open access to the public. Public food forests respond well to these challenges, making them especially well suited to public parks compared to other forms of urban agriculture. Successful implementation of public food forests in parks requires cooperation and partnerships between professional designers, local communities, and government agencies, as well as positive relationships within the food forest community. This practicum demonstrates these ideas through the design of a public food forest in a Winnipeg park, aiming to inspire designers, government bodies, and communities in Winnipeg and beyond to reconceptualize public parks as potential places for sustainable, aesthetically mindful, and socially beneficial food production.