Festival Beach Food Forest is a grassroots pilot project neighboring the Festival Beach Community Garden and RBJ Residential Center in East Austin. We intend to transform three acres of a 90-acre park into an edible forest garden where visitors can openly forage and enjoy fresh food on the shores of Lady Bird Lake. Fruits, nuts, vegetables and herbs will now inhabit the city-owned land.
Our plan was unanimously approved by Austin City Council as part of the Holly Shores and Edward Rendon Sr. Park Master Plan on August 28th, 2014. The Master Plan will enhance the expansive neighborhood park by increasing accessibility, improving maintenance, and establishing the Festival Beach Food Forest.
This project was first envisioned by community activists from the East Feast Coalition who recognized the power of community members connecting, growing, and celebrating together. Grounded in their neighborhoods’ heritage and inspired by the possibility of renewing relationships with the land and with each other, they gathered neighbors and allies in support of edible landscaping. The idea of the Festival Beach Food Forest took root over the course of two years of community conversations convened by the Parks and Recreation Department as part of the Master Plan process. It has been nourished by ongoing community contributions of time, talent, and resources ever since.
The Festival Beach Food Forest will be a center for growth, connection, and celebration. The food forest concept is an ancient one, drawing on indigenous practices of caring for the land and people. Our team of permaculture designers and landscape architects is helping us incorporate these ancient concepts to restore health to the soil and create abundance over time. The Festival Beach Food Forest will be a welcomed additional layer to sustainable food production in Austin.