Walk around Seattle and it feels like a major city. You don't see many tractors driving around, and those you see wearing overalls tend to be artists being ironic. But soon, more of us might be growing our own food. At the least, more land might be set aside for agriculture. The city released a Food Action Plan a few days ago, and it includes a lot of things like using zoning to encourage healthy food retail stores within walking or biking distance of more people, or requiring vending machines on city property to sell healthier stuff.
But part of the plan is to turn more of the city into, if not farmland, then places where fruits and vegetables grow. Some of the ideas conjure images of rich condo residents in Belltown digging into the dirt of their rooftop orchards.
To bring this about the vision of more locally-grown food, the city is thinking about building more neighborhood P-patches, including on the roofs of more buildings. The report notes that the city owns a lot of unused land there's actually more than 30 orchards and fruit gardens on city property. Volunteers harvested more than 1,500 pounds of fruit there in 2011. But the plan recommends doing a better inventory of city-owned land to see if there are more places that can be turned into orchards or gardens.
In the 88 percent of land in Seattle that's private, the report says the city should encourage developers to include places to grow food in new developments, as well as converting lawns and vacant sites into places for food production. Walla Walla has its apples. What will Seattle have? You can read the food action plan here.