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Syracuse Urban Food Forest Project
Frequently Asked Questions

What is a food forest?
A food forest is an agricultural system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes edible trees, shrubs, and other plants for non-edible forest plants. Fruit and nut trees make up the top canopy, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the understory.

Where is the SUFFP located?
The SUFFP is located along a 7 mile stretch of the Onondaga Creekwalk, largely in the city’s South Side neighborhood. Locations include Kirk Park, Corcoran High School fields, Wadsworth Park, Elmwood Park, Springdale, and others. 

Is anyone allowed to harvest from SUFFP locations?
Yes! The SUFFP is open for anyone to come and harvest. We ask that you are mindful of how much you harvest, consider the two practices below!

Use the Rule of Three:

  1. Allow 1/3 of the plant to be harvested (by you and your community)
  2. Save 1/3 of the plant for animals to consume
  3. Leave 1/3 of the plant for ecosystem health and regrowth

The Honorable Harvest:
It is a traditional Indigenous practice that applies to every exchange between people and Earth. They are a set of  guidelines to ensure there is no exploitation of nature and that the land will remain just as rich for future generations. (See Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer for more information)

What is foraging?
Foraging is the act of searching for and harvesting wild foods. Wild foods refers to edible plants (such as ramps, fruit trees, sumac) and fungi (mushrooms) that grow in parks, forests, and even throughout cities that are not cultivated by humans! Foraging is a widespread but often hidden activity. The SUFFP increases access to public land for foraging.

Are foraged foods safe to eat?
Generally speaking yes, but individuals are encouraged to ensure that foods are safe prior to consuming them as there are poisonous plants. Do not pick from plants that do not look healthy or are in areas that seem to be polluted. Practice caution especially in the case of mushrooms!

Are there laws about foraging?
SUFFP collaborates with the City of Syracuse on planting edible trees, shrubs, and perennial undergrowth on public lands. Currently municipal policy and code concerning foraging are under review

How do you decide where to plant?
The SUFFP collaborates with the City of Syracuse, local community groups, and entrepreneurs to identify preferred locations and species to plant along a 9-mile corridor on the City’s South Side. Project partners include the Syracuse City Departments of Parks & Recreation and Business & Community Development, Onondaga Earth Corps, Brady Faith Farms, Baltimore Woods, and the Syracuse-Onondaga Food System Alliance.

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