Food forests mimic a forest edge that is planted with edible plants. Picture all of the vertical layers of a forest growing together: Tall trees, small trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground covers.
What is a food forest?
Our favorite way of planting trees is in a food forest, an orchard that mimics a forest edge planted with edible plants. Like a natural forest, vertical layers of a food forest grow together: Tall trees, small trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground covers. Tall, canopy trees grow inward from the edge. Correspondingly, smaller trees peek out from underneath the tall trees to catch the sun’s rays. Shrubs step farther out into the sunshine, along with herbs, flowers, and ground covers blanketing the sunniest edge. But aside from sequestering carbon, the best part of a food forest is that it provides you with fruits, nuts, herbs, greens, roots, and even edible flowers with little maintenance.
Here we give you instructions on how to plant your own food forest, or better yet—you can hire us to do it for you. Join us in greening Wisconsin and providing food for yourself and others.
Why would you plant one?
The Government’s recent U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report, coupled with the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 report have given us grim news about how quickly the planet is warming.
Despite the implications of these warnings, we know that carbon sequestration is one mitigating factor in slowing the planet’s warming. Carbon dioxide is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases, and forests are one of the best ways to sequester (keep in the ground) carbon.
The seven layers of a food forest garden
Robert Hart (1996) identified seven food forest garden characteristics:
Resistant to pests and diseases
The placement and synergy between the plants produce very favorable and critical characteristics that ensure their success and sustainability.
“Forest gardeners use the forest as a design metaphor, a model of structure and function, while adapting the design to focus on meeting human needs in a small space.”