SEATTLE - A group of gardeners has convinced the city to let them make a Seattle park the home to the largest public food forest in the country.

Here's the concept: You are enjoying a nice day at the park, and instead of reaching into your bag for some snacks purchased from the nearest store, you just reach up and pluck a fresh plum or an apple from the nearest tree or some blueberrie or huckleberries from the nearest bush.

That concept becomes a reality this year at a park on Seattle's Beacon Hill. The farm work begins this spring at the Beacon Food Forest, and when it's completed supporters believe it will be the nation's largest edible forest.

It's one part of the blossoming permaculture movement thatincorporates public food sources along with other sustainable community concepts.

The Beacon Food Forest will offer orchards of fruit and nut trees, along with other edible plants and large plots of community gardens.

Jenny Pell's design has attracted an international following.

All over the world, we've had feedback from Australia, New Zealand, India all over Europe. We want them in our city too, she said.

Pea patches have thrived in Seattle for the last 40 years with few problems. Organizers of the food forest convinced city parks officials they can take it to the next level.

The project at Jefferson Park will be paid for by money from a park levy passed in 2008 and will save money by turning over the care of the park to neighbors who work the crops.

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