What is a Food Forest?

A food forest is a carefully designed ecosystem of beneficial plants (and sometimes animals). Instead of neat rows of one type of plant (monoculture), food forests mix a diverse range of food-producing (and other) plants that nourish each other, use different nutrients from the soil and make the most of the available space. This mimics the structure of a natural forest - the most stable and sustainable type of ecosystem in our climate. Importantly, the soil is almost always covered - resulting in a rich underground biodiversity and a healthy soil rich in carbon, minerals and other nutrients.

There are many advantages to this type of land use:

  • Low maintenance and high efficiency
  • Resilience to extreme weather
  • Biologically sustainable
  • Wide range of products
  • High nutritional value
  • Working with the land instead of against it
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • Commercial potential

Food forests come in many different shapes, sizes and styles. They can range from a small household garden to very large commercial projects (also known as agro-forestry). Our project is medium sized (about 4 hectares). Converted from a corn field 10 years ago, it is now mature and productive. The organically certified products are sold to subscribers and other customers. The site is also used as a demonstration site for courses and tours.

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