A wide variety of berries can be found in the ravines and valleys throughout Edmonton — and now, the city is hoping to make those plants more accessible.
More than 50 volunteers helped plant 3,600 food producing plants, including gooseberries, pine cherries and cranberries, provided by the city on Saturday.
Nicole Fraser, the community greening coordinator for the City of Edmonton, says there are many advantages to having a food forest in the city.
"We are also absorbing carbon dioxide by planting trees and shrubs," she said. "There’s environmental, economic and quality of life benefits."
Dustin Bajer, a member of Edmonton’s food council, agrees.
"You’re bringing people down here," he said. "They’re becoming advocates for the river valley. They’re going to protect [it]. There's a local food element and there's a food security element."
Many Edmontonians didn’t know about the food forest hidden within the city. Catherine Vu, who loves Saskatoon berries, is excited to have made the discovery
"It’s a secret, but this way we know it’s here," she said, adding that having a food forest with the city is a great idea.
"I just thought it’d be awesome. I love the river valley, I love fruit trees, I love picking fruits, so it's perfect. And it’s something I can do with my niece."
This is the first public food forest in Edmonton, but advocates are hoping it will not be the last.
"There’s no shortage of people that want to see these kinds of things happen and the city is willing to partner with them and provide the plants," Bajer said. "Let’s harness that community and keep it going with this stuff."