Food forests incorporate diverse ecosystems that resemble natural forests. They are an alternative to industrial food production techniques through the creation of access to healthy and sustainable nutrition. Food forestry is not very popular among farmers and gardeners, so it might be hard to find so good examples in your local area to learn from. Worry not, here’s a list of successful food forests to inspire your own project:
Manosabu Fukuoka was the pioneer of the food forest. He passed away in 2008, leaving a legacy that his children continue to protect to this day. Today, the food forest is thriving with citrus, avocado, fejioa and mango trees.
Fukuoka believed that minimal pruning was not essential, instead opting for fruit trees to grow close together and maintain their natural shape. The food forest plants both annual and perennial vegetables to ensure a sustainable yield throughout the year.
Fukuoka’s food forest incorporates the principles of permaculture and regenerative farming to produce a yield. It is located in a warm temperate region and includes multiple layers, diverse fruits, nuts, vegetables and nitrogen fixers. The food forest covers a region of around ten acres. Fukuoka focuses on diverse polycultures, and nitrogen-fixing trees such as acacia, wax myrtle, alders, and autumn olive.
The project was developed as a partnership with the City of Seattle. The vision of the food forest is achieving a world where the community is actively involved in the creation of local food ecosystems.
Most of the people working on the farm are volunteers from the local neighborhoods. Funding for the farm is obtained from grants and donors, who facilitate the purchasing of gardening supplies and snacks for the volunteers.
Beacon Food Forest began in 2009, by four friends with a dream to study and understand food forestry. It is located on a 7-acre piece of land, seeking to provide fresh, and healthy food to the local community. The farm is built and designed on the principles and ethics of food forestry
The food forest is located in Atlanta, USA. It was established as the first urban food forest to benefit the City of Atlanta. It is meant to produce a wide variety of fresh, tasty and healthy nuts, vegetables, mushrooms and herbs.
Brown Mill food forest was founded in 2000, in an area that was largely considered a food desert. The land was previously owned by Ruby and Willie Morgan.
Currently, the food forest aims to feed 85% of citizens living within a mile of the land. The farm welcomes volunteers to assist in labor while learning about sustainable food production through regular workshops.
This food forest is located in Mexico City. It is an example of a regenerative and transformative farming approach that incorporates the underutilized area into a model of sustainability.
Huerto Tlatelolco aims to create a citizen meeting space and education center for the Mexico City community. The main objectives of the food forest are to create community, promote community support and care, recover underutilized spaces, educate on the need to care for natural resources and serve as an example of healthy living in urban centers.
The farm was established in 2013 and has managed over 21 workshops and 40 school visits. Huerto Tlatelolco is run as a collaboration between sponsors, organizations and individuals who participate in making the dream of the food forest possible.
The food forest was developed in the Kensington suburb of Melbourne by Jacqui van Heerden. She carefully planned and designed the food forest to ensure production of enough food for the residents of Kensington Estate. The rehabilitation of the site for the farm began in 2016.
They began with the planting of trees and understory plants. The food forest incorporated annual seasonal foods such as eggplants, chili, basil, beans and pumpkins. The pest and soil management plan involved planting pest-repellent plants, drip watering, rotation of annuals to ensure high production and diversity, and use of plants for mulch.
La Food Forest is located in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. It was founded by Axel Will, who holds the belief that it is possible for anyone to take part in the urban food revolution. The food forest is located strategically in a housing area, to provide regular, healthy and locally grown food options for the community.
La Food Forest is part of the tourist experience of the La Vista Lodge. In 2019, the food forest began a project geared towards reducing plastic consumption and to grow more herbs. It is one of the examples of a true permaculture farm in South Africa.
The food forest project began in 2009, in an unused plot of land in Toronto. Ben Nobleman Park is composed of 14 fruit trees, mainly apples, apricots, sweet cherries and plums. They are harvested annually and distributed to the community.
The farm is run by volunteers, who also plan activities and events. The park has evolved into a place where residents meet and socialize, conduct educational workshops, hold harvest festivals and other community events.
The park exemplifies the ethics of permaculture, especially caring for people and taking care of the environment for future generations.
Cargonomia is a food forest project located in Budapest. It is a collaboration of various socially and environmentally conscious organizations in the region. It is the center of the production and distribution of healthy foods and low-emission urban transport.
The project is built on the tenets of sustainable consumption and local production of food to limit environmental emissions. The staff involved in Cargonomia use self-made bikes to deliver food to those in need around Budapest.
Cargonomia is open to everyone and encourages community events centered around the themes of sustainability. The project is a viable alternative to the profit-oriented agricultural systems that are destructive to the urban environment.
Urban food forests are vital in utilizing abandoned spaces to complement food production for the local community. The above food forests are known for their innovation and incorporation of permaculture principles to influence the production of healthy foods. They also allow the connection of people and educate the people on the benefits of sustainable farming.