First in a series looking at wonderful world of food forests, or forest gardening.
A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a productive and organic garden modeled on the ecosystem of a forest. Species are selected to create a stable, functioning environment that fulfill the needs of the gardeners by producing fruits, berries, vegetables, herbs, seeds and other useful plant material.
Each plant performs many multiple roles within the system – promoting growth of other plants, inhibiting weeds, shelter, mulch, pest control, bird food, cross-pollination, attracting beneficial insects and of course providing food, medicine and utility plants for community use.
Food forests are:
– consciously designed using permaculture principles which mimic natural systems;
– multi-layered – trees and shrubs grow surrounded by a herbaceous layer, root crops, vines;
– perennial – plants grow every year without replanting;
– highly productive;
– once established, can be low-maintenance.