AN $81,000 “food forest” incorporating more than 70 edible plant species will be created at City Park over the next few weeks.
The forest will be a vibrant display of assorted trees, shrubs, herbs and groundcovers with the aim of promoting healthy eating and exercise.
An educational trail will wind through the forest with signage to provide information on each plant.
The project is part of council’s Healthy Communities Initiative, funded by the federal government.
It is aimed at disadvantaged adults but local schools will be invited to assist with planting, maintenance and harvesting.
“We are really excited to be bringing this project to life,” project co-ordinator Peta Dummett said.
“The food forest is for everyone to enjoy, is free to harvest and best of all, you can learn about the diverse edible plants we have available.
“I would like to encourage everyone to take ownership of the food forest and enjoy the produce, but to also become involved in establishing our forest.”
Council will call on volunteers to assist with planting.
Some of the edible plants featured will include a macadamia tree, curry plant, kaffir lime and passionfruit.
More than half of the selected species are native to the Griffith region and all are believed to be fruit fly resistant.
Raised garden beds throughout the forest will allow for disability access, a shelter, a water bubbler and bicycle racks.
Griffith councillor Pat Cox said the food forest was an excellent initiative to promote health and wellbeing in the community.
“City Park already has fitness stations –this is the perfect addition to that,” Cr Cox said.
“The educational benefits of giving people, especially children, an understanding of what the plants are and how they can be used will be very valuable.”
Council parks and gardens staff will oversee the maintenance of the forest for the first year, while partnerships are established with local schools and community groups.
The food forest will form part of council’s Community Heart Griffith project, which will be launched in November.