What is a food forest?

A food forest is a replication of a natural forest ecosystem but with edible plants. Food forests recreate  forest ecosystems using trees, shrubs and herbs that are useful for humans. As in a forest there are several layers and microclimates which support a variety of plant life, microbes in the soil, insects, lizards and birds. Plants are intercropped essentially creating a polyculture landscape of edible plants.

When established food forests are sites of incredible diversity and abundance. The mix of shrubs, ground covers, and fruit trees produce an abundance of food all year round. Food forests are different from conventional orchards or vegetable gardens in that they are relatively self sustaining, pesticide free and enhancing for a vast array of bioorganisms (including humans!), they are places that support life.

To see video examples of food forests go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG_vRG66wkA :Video of Geoff Lawton showing a series of food forests that have been planted at Zaytuna farm over successive years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftgWcD-1Nw : One of the extras featured on Geoff Lawton’s DVD “Establishing a Food Forest” the Permaculture Way available from http://www.permaculture.org.au