By Associated Press - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - An initiative supported by horticulturists, gardeners and Dubuque leaders has been awarded a $2,000 grant to help encourage the growth of an urban forest that’s ripe for the picking.

The effort aims to engage residents, businesses, churches, nonprofits and schools in integrating edible plants into their landscapes, the Telegraph Herald ( reported. Leaders and supporters of the initiative called Edible Dubuque say making those plants available to the public will increase access to fresh food and opportunities for agrotourism.

“We want people to start exploring their surroundings, picking fruit along the sidewalks,” said Laura Klavitter, horticulture educator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Dubuque County. “A lot of the times when we are planting our landscapes, we’re thinking about aesthetics and functionality. But functionality can also mean edibility, and a lot of edible plants are really beautiful. Instead of a prickly plant that serves no other function than looking nice, why not plant something edible?”

The initiative was awarded the grant through Sustainable Dubuque. Grant funds from the city will go toward developing signs and a website educating residents about the various opportunities to forage in Dubuque.

The city already has a few landscapes with edible plants, with more to come.

The Dubuque Rescue Mission garden has apple and other fruit trees available to the public for picking, as well as the Washington Neighborhood Community Garden. The City Hall Annex has a garden maintained by employees.

Officials at the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens intend to plant a 20,000-square-foot “Garden of Eat’n” in early spring 2016. The garden will feature nut and fruit trees, raspberry brambles, perennial vegetables and herbs.


Information from: Telegraph Herald,

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