Food Forests and Forest Gardens

The forest garden is the ultimate, perennial Permaculture system.

High-yielding planting regimes, food forests and gardens use perennials that need not be planted each year. They produce a larger percentage of biomass than conventional farms and gardens, and, by design, are diverse and complex ecosystems. Forest gardens and food forests have the capacity to restore health and balance to the landscape by mimicking the structure and function of forests where resources are judiciously used while biodiversity and wildlife habitat are conserved. Forest farms have the potential to restore ecological balance to fragmented second growth forests through intentional manipulation to create the desired forest ecosystem.

In some instances, the intentional introduction of species for botanicals, medicinals, food or decorative products is accomplished using existing forests. The tree cover, soil type, water supply, land form and other site characteristics determine what species will thrive. Developing an understanding of species/site relationships as well as understanding the site limitations is necessary to utilize these resources for production needs, while conserving adequate resources for the long-term health of the forest.

A Sampling of Techniques:

Silvopasture: grazing animals under a forest canopy of about 50% cover, so that grasses can persist
Riparian Buffers: tree crop systems in waterways: streams, rivers, wetlands, etc.
Windbreaks and Shelterbelts: tree crop systems to buffer effects of wind
Alley Cropping: rows of trees in between conventional crops, like Black Walnuts in-between rows of annual and biennial crops

Forest Farming

Orchard Design and Implementation

Mixed Cropping: annuals, biennials, perennials

We look for opportunities to conceptualize, design and develop this abundant and beautiful system by integrating it into your pre-existing landscape, whether rural, suburban, or urban, with no limitations of scale.

Wayne Weiseman of The Permaculture Project LLC has written an in-depth manual of forest gardening and plant guilds, INTEGRATED FOREST GARDENING, published by Chelsea Green Publishers in 2014.