Food forest in east Austin set to expand, provide more free food to community

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A food forest in east Austin has gotten city council approval to expand, furthering its goal of providing free food and education about permaculture to the community.

Jodi Lane, co-founder of Festival Beach Food Forest, said it started as an idea in 2012 and two years later, got council permission to grow food on two-thirds of an acre. The forest is located off Waller Street near Interstate 35 and the Rebekah Baines Johnson Center.

The food forest mainly serves seniors at the RBJ building, but it is open to the public, with fruits and nuts free for the taking.

“What we did is we planted over 100 fruit and nut trees, and now it’s an edible forest, garden for all to enjoy with no fences,” Lane said.

Now, city council has approved for a second-phase expansion, that’ll hopefully be implemented in five to seven years, according to the city Parks and Recreation Department.

“The expansion is going to look similar to what we have here now, which is a lot of fruit and nut trees and medicinal herbs and ground cover, but for the expansion, what we’d like to do is make more room for people, have it less dense with trees and have more food,” Lane explained.

Festival Beach is also planning for an outdoor education center, so young and old alike can learn about nutrition. Lane expects the expansion to cost anywhere from $80,000-$100,000, which would, in part, be covered by sponsors and grants.

If you would like to learn more about the Festival Beach Food Forest and how you can donate to its efforts, visit its website.

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