Tucson, Arizona is working to cool streets and feed residents from food orchards that are like ‘living pantries’. In the city’s shadeless south side, where about one-fifth of the population is more than a mile from a grocery store, Brandon Merchant is planting velvet mesquite trees that can be ground into a sweet, protein-rich flour. In 2021, Tucson’s community food bank bought six shade huts to shelter saplings and over three years, Merchant has partnered with a high school, community farm, and Tohono O’odham tribal nation to nurse, plant, and maintain the trees. Food forests, forest gardens, and edible parks have sprouted in many cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Miami.

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