Moscow to discuss plan for edible forest

Schott

The City of Moscow is working on finalizing a management plan for Harvest Park, the city’s proposed edible forest that has been 14 years in the making.

The city hopes residents will one day enjoy food-bearing trees, shrubs and other flora at the 4-acre site located between Southview Avenue and Indian Hills Drive. On Monday, the Public Works and Finance Committee will decide whether to recommend approval of the Harvest Park management plan to the City Council.

“The purpose of Harvest Park is to provide the community with a public food forest with a strong emphasis on public education and outreach about the benefits and pride in growing food,” the management plan states.

The history of the park dates back to 2008, when the city acquired 1.73 acres of farmland, which it later traded for the 4 acres in a 2018 agreement between Moscow and Indian Hills Trading Company.

The property was officially named Harvest Park in 2019, the same year the City Council approved the park’s conceptual plan.

David Schott, Moscow Parks and Facilities manager, said the city will begin phased development of the park’s interior in fiscal year 2024, as the budget allows. He said volunteers planted some trees on the periphery of the park last year.

He called Harvest Park a “grassroots endeavor” that started with a concept from the Moscow Tree Commission.

According to the management plan, harvesting fruits and nuts from Harvest Park will not include commercial sales and will be based on “the honor system, common courtesy, and a first-come, first-served basis for the public.”

Visitors will be able to pick their own food, but will be asked to pick only what they need. There will not be bagging limits, but the city reserves the right to modify that policy.

If there is a surplus of supply, the city may contact nonprofit groups to collect the food.

The plan calls for easily accessible fruits and nuts to be placed near the entrance to the park on Southview Avenue. This area will be tailored for children and people with disabilities.

Information on what is ripe and available will be updated on a kiosk and information board on-site.

During the park’s planning, the public expressed that it wants little to no pesticide use at Harvest Park.

According to the management plan, “no pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, will be used except those certified for organic production by the Organic Materials Review Institute.”

The Public Works and Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday.

Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

Recommended for you