Why have an orchard when you can have a food forest?
Forest gardens are probably the world's oldest form of land use and most resilient agroecosystem.
A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. Food forests are three dimensional designs, with life extending in all directions – up, down, and out.
Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans.
Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers, to build a woodland habitat.
The food forest ecosystem provides a unique teaching space …
For studying a myriad of subjects such as ecology, invertebrate zoology, farming and horticulture, soil science, minibeast hunting, foraging for wild edible plants and biodiversity.
It is a great way to introduce the ecosystem concept to primary age students and it can begin with the simple tree guild and build into a giant forest of edible trees and shrubs.
Permaculture fruit tree guilds
companion planting is the practice of grouping plants together to compliment each other such as deterring pests, providing shade and or attracting pollinators. A simple fruit tree guild is the starting point for a forest garden.