A food forest is an agriculture system based on natural principles that consists of, at least, seven layers of perennial vegetation. It contains very big trees, such as nut trees; lower trees, such as fruit trees; tall and smaller bushes; under that the perennial plants which are low to the ground; climbers, tubers and water plants.
Another very important property of food forests is that they are agricultural systems without inputs. This means no fertilisers and no pest control. The latter element is unbelieveable to many people.
How can we harvest from the food system without, as is often occuring, exhausting it? And how can we create successful agricultural businesses without fighting pests? These are legitimate questions and you need knowledge and experience to address them. With these, you can be rewarded with an extremely fruitful, highly productive agriculture system that functions as a natural forest. Thus, there is no need to fight, to fertilise, the system is full of biodiversity, has a large water and CO2-retention capacity and is full of food for people and animals.
The measurements include CO2-uptake, biodiversity level, the soil quality and, of course, the economics of the harvests. The tool is free to use, the measurements are easy to make and the method is scientifically supported.
It is true that four annual courses, and two important POP3 projects have created an interesting network. However, this is not nearly enough. Food forests have become very hip in the past few years, but they are not yet part of the norm of, nor properly integrated into, Dutch agriculture. And that is what we are aiming for by training and guiding all the actors involved in the best possible way.
We need your help to increase our quantitative and qualitative knowledge about food forests. You can get involved with your food forest, learn more from our courses, develop your business plan with our business case tool, and get in touch with us if you think we can participate in a fruitfull collaboration with your network or organisation.