A Forest of Food?

The Southern Heights Food Forest is among the first of its kind in the nation. The 2 acre space in South Lincoln is Nebraska’s first publicly accessible food forest.  In addition to the foraging forest guilds, our project includes a full-sized, research-based outdoor classroom for kids of all ages, an extensive pollinator garden, and over 50 community garden plots.  We envision of a different way to think about and value public space as a community.  To create that inclusive commons that we seek, we are building out this piece of land by teaching each other the value and possibilities of food, play and ecological resilience. 

We are creating a space where entire communities and families come together to interact with each other and build relationships, a space where children can play freely while learning about nature, where we teach each other organically about life.  2024 is our ninth growing season. Our volunteer program is in full swing, and we have tons of programs and events coming your way.  If you have an idea of something you’d like to see, please share it with us!

2024 good news: we are EXPANDING! More details revealed soon (Listen to Howz it Growin’ on KZUM May 22nd, 11 am!). We are hitching more horses to this cart, things are going to start moving faster. 

YOU CAN HELP. Please donate via Give to Lincoln Day: https://givetolincoln.com/nonprofits/shff  through May 30th to be included in Lincoln Community Foundation’s annual matching grant extravaganza.

Our Story

It all began with a conversation in the spring of 2012. Staff from two Lincoln-based nonprofits—Community Crops and Nature Explore—asked each other, “How can we make community gardens more active spaces?” More importantly, “How can we start to transform these spaces into catalysts for real community-building?” Shortly after that initial conversation, an opportunity arose to collaborate with Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, which is host to a plot of existing community gardens managed by Community Crops.

The Southern Heights Food Forest includes a variety of elements that are changing the way we eat, play, and interact, both with each other as a community and with the landscape within which we live. By creating a dynamic space that is based around the value of food and the outdoors, we are creating a sanctuary for community development where children can play safely, where nature is encouraged instead of thwarted, where we learn about and foster the abundant earth which supports all life, lifelong.

Interested? Learn more about the people involved, the spaces being created, and our upcoming events!