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.