food forest

Food forests growing in popularity


It’s almost like having the produce section of a supermarket in your backyard… only it’s not quite as organised.

Food forests, also known as forest gardening, are an easy to maintain and sustainable way of cultivating a garden by creating a mini ecosystem in your backyard.

One of the world’s leading examples is growing in Southland.

Permaculturalists Robert and Robyn Guyton had been working on their Riverton forest garden, which has been internationally recognised, for over 20 years.

It was in the last three years that the couple have been running workshops teaching people how to develop their own food forests.

“We’ve probably spent about 30 hours working on our garden since spring,” Robyn told the group.

Anytime we need anything we just go for a browse, Robyn Guton said.

“All year round I can have a green salad.”

The couple even had their own bees and hens.

However, they still had to buy dairy products and other essentials, she said.

Yesterday the Guytons hosted a group of ten people at their property who had come from throughout the South Island to see their forest.

Juliet Pope said she had come from Arrowtown with her family to see the Guyton’s “legendary” food forest.

“It’s the best example, evidently, in the world of a cool climate food forest.”

Pope had done a permaculture design course and was also a qualified architect, she said.

Pope and her husband had two and a half acres on which they had fruit and nut trees, plus ducks and chickens, she said.

“We’re going to continue working with the orchard and bring in more diversity.”

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How a small British garden became a mature food forest

Sami Grover (@samigrover)

food forest photo

Video screen capture Permaculture Magazine

Many years ago I picked up a book called The Permaculture Garden, by Graham Bell. I was more than a little hooked by the practical tips and inspiring visions of urban and suburban gardens turned into food forests.

Since then, I’ve visited/read about/watched videos on more than my fair share of permaculture projects. From Mike Feingold’s awesome permaculture allotment to a20-year-old forest garden in the mountains, many have been inspiring examples of ecplogical design. This is the first time, however, that I’ve seen Graham Bell’s own garden.

In a video for Permaculture Magazine, Graham talks us through how he and his wife Nancy developed a mature permaculture food forest over the course of 25 years.

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