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McPherson Edible Forest

The McPherson Edible Forest inspires our community to gather and grow healthy food in ways that rehabilitates our local ecosystems while increasing equal access to food.

Located near the center of Iowa City, the edible forest is designed to encourage fun gatherings, grow frequent harvests and provide learning opportunities.

The forest is an orchard ecosystem of interconnected plants that benefit people and our environment. Tasty fruits, medicinal herbs, and beautiful flowers grow throughout.

All food is free for harvesting and eating. No synthetic pesticides or herbicides have been applied.


James Alan McPherson Park

1858 7th Ave Court, Iowa City


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What is an Edible Forest?
An edible forest is a gardening technique that emulates a healthy woodland ecosystem.


The system combines edibles with native habitat rehabilitation, yielding food, medicine and materials while supporting desired birds and insects, conserving rainwater, reducing erosion, building soil and cleaning air. Fruit and nut trees form upper canopy levels, while berry shrubs and edible herbs make up lower levels. Plants are perennials that come back every year with little maintenance.

Phase I
The first phase established the front portion of the garden. Back areas of the garden will be established in years to come.



Public Benefit
The goal of the forest is to bring the richly diverse community together by fostering an ecological-based approach to urban farming and land stewardship. By building a community around sharing food with the public we hope to be inclusive to all in need of food.

Together we can...


  • Decrease grocery bills: Baskets of delicious fresh food will be available for grazing and storing.

  • Increase health: Research shows that children (and adults) who grow fruits and vegetables are much more likely to eat them.

  • Increase self-reliance: Learning to grow food and increase environmental health reduces dependence upon distant people and organizations.

  • Increase habitat: Desired feathered and buzzing friends keep undesired pests in check.

  • Mitigate climate change: Unlike annual crops, perennial plants sequester larger amounts of carbon which helps meet community sustainability goals.

The forest is not just a project for the community, it is a project of the community. Please donate your time and spread the word about this local treasure.

Receive emails about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

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This project would not be possible without sponsors and supporters. Please frequent these generous organizations to thank them for donations of materials and funds.

Logo: Iowa City Parks an Recreation
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