Streetscape trees are not 'street furniture'. The city's growing trees deliver continuing health and copious wellbeing to its denizens in scores of ways. Lose your trees, and residents sicken.
The trees of the urban forests can do even more. They can produce crops. In fact, many already do: the nut trees! The tree nut crops (usually suspected by locals as poisonous) are mostly wasted to the dumpsite.
An urban forest dominated by tree nuts could be called an urban 'agroforest', able to pay for itself. These crops are a marketable (read profitable), natural resource. Tree nut crops grow overhead, out of the way, and are harvested easily off the ground when they fall fully ripened. They have been called the 'grain that grows overhead', or '3D agriculture', or '3D permaculture'; tree nuts are perfect trees and crops for cities.
Tree nuts have hundreds of uses. Here is our overview of profitable food uses and of mixed uses of our 'urbanuts'.
Many of Canada's urban forests already host many kinds of tree nuts; oaks, black walnuts, butternuts, hazels, ginkgos, horsechestnuts, buckeyes, hickories and more. (Follow our 2006 tree nut tour of centretown Ottawa. to see just a few local urban species.)
The City of Ottawa has some 200,000 public trees and ten times that many private trees, of a good dozen different species. Many thousands of these are tree nuts cropping thousands of hectoliters annually. This urban forest is already an urban agroforest, all but in name.
Increasing the portion and variety of tree nuts can only make our urban agroforest better. We double the benefit of our forest. We support evolving our cities urban forests to urban agroforests, with at least a third of the population being tree nuts.
The city of Ottawa (for example) may not be too far from this goal already! Here is an incomplete list of nut trees able to grow in Ottawa:
Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye)
Aesculus glabra var.monticola (Ohio Buckeye, Fetid Buckeye)