What is a Food Forest?
Food Forest is the process of gardening an area with a three-dimensional project or structure or design, with life-extending in all directions-up, down, in, and out. A Food Forest can be called a Forest Garden, where diversified planting of edible plants is done with the aim to save and nurture the ecosystem as a whole. Every forest has seven layers one is the overstory tree layer, and the second is the understory tree layer, the third is the shrub layer, the fourth is the herbaceous layer, the fifth is the root layer, the sixth is the ground cover layer, and the seventh is the vine layer. At some places, the eight-layer of Food Forest is also recognized with the name mycelia layer, i.e., mushrooms. The deep research of these layers helps us plant the trees according to their suitability, leaving zero chance of failure.
Some of the urban Food Forest projects around the world are listed below:
1. London, England-the London Orchard Projects
2. Edmonton, Alberta-25-species edible ecosystem
3. Seattle, Washington-Seattle Beacon Forest Neighborhood
4. Cowichan Valley, British Columbia
5. Asheville, North Carolina-dr. George Washington carver edible park
6. Glendale, Ohio-keep Akron beautiful project
7. Fukuoka’s Food Forest, japan
8. Madison, Wisconsin
9. Boston, Massachusetts
10. Los Angeles, California
11. San Francisco, California
12. Austin, texas
13. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
14. Calgary, Alberta
15. Tacoma, Washington
16. Toronto, Ontario
17. Bloomington, Indiana
18. Waiheke island Food Forest, New Zealand
Food Forest is a developed forest to produce food for people to eat, nuts, fruits growing trees, shrubs are planted with herbs, vines and ground flora that produces fruits, vegetables, and edible greens and roots and to prevent food insecurity. Today the communities are engaging themselves in developing Food Forest to managing agricultural landscapes in harmony with nature. A Food Forest has a quality that there is no need to replant Food Forest year after year; once the plantation is done, the trees, shrubs, and vines remain undamaged due to a healthy underground system.
What is the purpose of developing Food Forest?
Projects related to Food Forest are growing at a very rapid pace in order to maximize the growth and production of food in a certain area. It is the natural forests designed with many layers of plants that play different roles in the ecosystem. In Food Forest, vegetables, herbs, fruits are planted in the manner as they are growing naturally. But these gardens are artificially designed in such a manner that each layer of the garden has its own significance and growth prospects.
Food Forest or forest gardens are low maintenance gardening, sustainable, and plant-based food directly consumable by humans. Forest gardening is a prehistoric method of securing food in tropical areas like home gardens in Kerala in south India, Nepal, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. Kandyan forest gardens in Sri Lanka, huertos familiares, the family orchards in Mexico. Food Forest or forest gardening plays a very important role in all human beings’ lives because it is related to food, and food is our first necessity without which we will die. Not only our country, which is an agriculture-based country but also urban and developed countries, are engaged in these projects. Food is required by everyone. It helps in the plantation of different categories of food like herbs, shrubs, fruits, vines, and many more under one garden separated with different layers. Food Forest in itself is an amazing experience to practice with. A Food Forest is a copy or mock of a forest edge that looks like an original and natural one with lots of edible plants. It is a kind of structure and looks like a picture of all vertical layers of the trees growing all together like tall trees, small trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground covers. Tall, canopy trees are grown inwards from the edge.
Why Food Forests are important?
Forests are many like rain forests, tropical forests, evergreen forests, etc. forests are to support the life on earth. Food Forest is designed to fulfill the needs of human beings, and all other measures are adopted to save the plants from pests and other damages. This is the practice that gives overall benefits to society as a whole and satisfies the food requirements.
Food Forest aims to produce all types of food, and plantation is done systematically with a variety of food products according to the weather, climatic conditions, and soil characteristics. Diversity in plants can be seen in Food Forest or forest gardening. It’s a very humble and progressive practice that starts with many agriculturists and innovative people. We can imagine the dense and deep natural forests similarly the Food Forest is human-made forests designed for the production of foods they like to eat. Through this, we can design and construct the most sustainable food production system, perfected, refined, and cared for by mother nature.