“Food Forests” are food-producing systems that mimic the look and function of nature. In many ways, they look like natural forests, with trees, vines, shrubs and groundcovers of varying shapes and sizes. Like in natural forests, you find both annuals and perrenials. However, foods forests are different than other forests in that their main role is to produce food.
In food forests, the majority of all the plants planted are edible in some way to us. One can find a wide array of fruits, nuts, leafy greens, herbs, and root vegetables, all with the potential to feed. Other plants also planted in food forests may not be edible to us, but are beneficial to promoting wildlife (including pollinators and pest eaters), or are primarily planted to improve the soil (like nitrogen fixers and dynamic accumulators).
This can be a very efficient way to produce a lot of food in a more ecologically sensitive manner. Also, since food forests are usually composed of mostly perennials, they are relatively low-maintenance once established. The main work required is harvesting.
A food forest doesn’t need to be very large, though it can be. Food forests can just be a small part of a yard. Let us know if you would like help starting one.
Mini Food Forest – $250 – 2 papaya, 1 banana, 1 cranberry hibiscus, 1 katuk, 1 sweet potato, 1 comfrey, pigeon pea, sunn hemp, buckwheat. Planting includes 1/2 yard of compost, 1/2 yard of mulch, and organic fertilizer.
Small Food Forest – $500 – 2 medium-growing fruit trees, 2 papaya, 1 banana, 1 ginger, 2 cranberry hibiscus, 1 katuk, 2 sweet potatoes, 2 comfrey, pigeon pea, sunn hemp, buckwheat, and 15 other veggies/herbs. Planting includes 1 yard of compost, 1 yard of mulch, and organic fertilizer.
Medium Food Forest- $1000 – 2 large-growing fruit trees, 4 medium-growing fruit trees, 3 papaya, 2 banana, 1 passionfruit or dragonfruit, 2 ginger, 4 cranberry hibiscus, 2 katuk, 4 sweet potatoes, 4 comfrey, 1 mexican sunflower, pigeon pea, sunn hemp, buckwheat, and 30 other veggies/herbs. Planting includes 2 yards of compost, 2 yards of mulch, and organic fertilizer.
Large Food Forest- $2000 – 5 large-growing fruit trees, 10 medium-growing fruit trees, 6 papaya, 4 banana, 1 passionfruit, 1 dragon fruit, 4 ginger, 8 cranberry hibiscus, 4 katuk, 8 sweet potato, 6 comfrey, 2 mexican sunflower, 1 moringa, pigeon pea, sunn hemp, buckwheat, and 60 other veggies/herbs. Planting includes 4 yards of compost, 4 yards of mulch, and organic fertilizer.