A food forest, also called a garden forest, is an ancient concept reborn in the 21-century due to the increase interest in growing food sustainably and in permaculture. It mimics the ecosystems found in any healthy forest. An ecosystem is a group of organisms such as plants, insects and animals living in a dynamic relationship and adapting to each other. The dominant players in the food forest ecosystem are the trees producing an abundance of food such as fruits, berries, and nuts from which people, animals and pollinators can benefit. Some of our trees grow best in the shadows of others, some prefer moist soil, and some a cooler slope. We designed the lay out of our forest according to each tree’s specifications. Different layers constitute the food forest; the tallest trees are the canopy, those growing right under them are the under-story trees. The shrubs, the perennial plants, the ground covers, and the root zones represent the other layers. This organized ecosystem produces not only food but also contributes to increase the biodiversity of its environment in inviting birds, beneficial insects, and many other critters which in turn provide valuable ecological services such as pollination and pest control.
The benefits of a food forest are numerous:
- It can provide an abundance of food involving far less efforts than a traditional garden.
- It increases biodiversity and food security.
- It stabilizes the soil by capturing more water and creating hummus
- It increases carbon capture and helps combat climate change
- It provides a beautiful place to enjoy, to forage, and, from which, to learn.
Learn more about food forests:
The Rise of Community Food Forests
Benefits of the Edible Forest Garden
Why Food Forests