North Texas

Food Forest Plans Underway for Collin County

A plan is in the works to turn part of a park in Collin County into a food forest.

The idea is based on a unique gardening style that one Plano man already uses. Nicholas Burtner brought sustainable living to the suburbs through a system called Permaculture.

It's a low-maintenance farming style that puts the environment to work.

"It's feng shui for nature," he said.

Burtner said Permaculture is growing in popularity. He now teaches a course out of his home.

Soon, the principles could be used at Myers Park north of McKinney. Burtner was asked by a park advisory board member to develop a proposal for a food forest.

"This is a beacon for North Texas," he said. "We're Texans. There's no reason we shouldn't be a self-sustaining and self-reliant as possible."

Burtner has drafted up a map and outline for the food forest.

But there are questions about whether the parks soil can support the crops.

Marilyn Geren and her husband run a ranch nearby.

"If it would work, maybe that would be good. I don't think it would work in this area but maybe it would," she said.

The idea is to open the food forest up to the public.

If the proposal makes it beyond the advisory board level, it would still have to go before county commissioners for consideration.

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