A Comprehensive Approach to Conservation

The Food Forest approaches conservation through the concept of Agriforestry—using agriculture that integrates trees and shrubs with food production to create healthy and ecologically resilient landscapes. That means using native trees and plants that produce nutritious foods, but that also provide resources to local wildlife and pollinator species, capture stormwater and mitigate flooding, filter air and water, and create a more sustainable urban landscape.

why this project matters

The Food Forest is just four miles south of Atlanta’s city center. The 7.1-acre Food Forest property was once a small family farm that helped nourish the local community. Abandoned and neglected for many years, the farm’s history is still visible with several large pecan trees, blackberry brambles, and muscadine vines that now grow wild across the land. Working with residents and a variety of stakeholders, the Fund has helped steward the creation of a community-driven concept plan that includes community garden beds, a fruit and nut orchard, herb gardens, walking trails, and gathering spaces. Partners and residents are currently working together to implement the community vision plan and bring new food resources to this community in need of fresh and healthy foods.

The Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill is currently the largest public food forest in the country and serves as a model for integrating food resources into equitable park development plans, in order to provide long-term benefits for local communities.



Community benefits

  • Vacant and neglected land is being transformed into a community asset that provides a safe place for kids to play and families to gather.
  • Community members have increased access to fresh, nutritious food, with 30 new community garden beds already built and more than 100 fruit trees planted so far.
  • Educational programs, including gardening and cooking classes are encouraging physical activity and healthy eating.
  • Residents have participated in paid workforce training opportunities and several are currently employed at the Food Forest.
  • Residents, students, and corporate partners have committed countless volunteer hours to the project with more than 1000 volunteers to date and ongoing opportunities for participation.
  • Partnerships with area schools have already brought hundreds of students to the Food Forest for STEM-based, outdoor learning and environmental education.
  • Native plants, area wildlife, tree canopy, and an onsite stream are now protected. Invasive species are being removed and native plants restored to the forest and streambank.
  • Walking trails now provide opportunities for exercise and recreational activities, like birdwatching and foraging.

Concept Map

KJMP Concept Map

Click on the image above to view the full concept map. Credit: Sustenance Design and STAND Landscape Architects

additional community partners

City of Atlanta 
City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation
Trees Atlanta
Aglanta
US Forest Services
National Park Service
Greening Youth Foundation
Concrete Jungle
Food Well Alliance
Fruit Forward
Park Pride
West Atlanta Watershed Alliance
Atlanta Audubon
EarthShare of Georgia
Georgia Forestry Commission
The Mary Alice and Bennett Brown Foundation
The Turner Foundation
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
American Family Insurance
Sustenance Design and STAND Landscape Architects