news February 19, 2024 - written by:Marieke Karssen

Every food forest is different. You could almost say, just as every garden is different. The owner or designer can put a lot of their own ideas into it. Where will the tall trees be? And where the paths? And will it be all straight or just full of exciting vistas? Is it about botany, biodiversity, perception, or very practical production? What does the owner like? And tasty? Or is it about more?

The communication and scaling power of good design

talking point on design by Marieke van der Velden, Eyeopeners

All these differences within that one term "food forest" mean that there are also quite a few misunderstandings and prejudices about the profession of food forest design. Some people think that if you make a pretty picture, you have designed a food forest. Others think that by making a picture you lose the ecological path completely, because you show a final image that will never exist in that state. And still others think that designing for and of food forests is a real profession, in which you can easily develop for years. After all, you have to be able to act on an awful lot of levels. To design really well, you have to understand complex programs like illustrator, mapping systems and GIS packages. But you also need to know a lot about plants and tree species, and beyond. You have to understand landscapes, climate zones, ecosystems and water resources, and be able to get a plan, a vision and a logic into that food forest design at all those levels.

If you master that complete palette, then you are enormously powerful. Because, then you produce maps, imagination, order lists and action perspective that allow you to literally change the world and communicate tremendously quickly exactly what is intended. The big plan, the vision and a beautifully crafted design mean that you can take people within minutes to the idea and literally show them what the plan embraces. And if that looks beautiful, that helps tremendously in getting agencies, financiers, family, in short everyone excited about a plan. But the magic is only really complete when from that imagination also come planting plans, and order lists, and that you can see what it will look like over time and how the biodiversity and other system services of a food forest will be secured. And then a design acts as a communication tool to everyone needed to make that food forest actually rise.

In short, being able to design food forests is a very important profession that is being developed right now by, among others, the people who can be heard in the following podcasts. This topic includes three purebred designers and two writers with a great affinity for design. Indeed, the strength of their books lies primarily in how they describe what is involved in a food forest design. And those books, just like good design, are also enormously powerful communication vehicles for taking lots of people to a new reality very quickly.

This theme is about the power of well-crafted imagination and how it contributes to changing our planet.

Want to read more about why this bundling in themes? Then read on here.

Podcast 2. Evelyn Derksen

Start listening to what was also literally the beginning of our podcast series for us. Evelyn Derksen, the principal designer of the Food Forestry Foundation. At first, this conversation really needs to get going, but as you listen through, she takes you through how she grew to become a food forest designer and also her well-founded, super-interesting and detailed picture of the future, particularly of the Netherlands' large production food forests. Food forests that she has largely designed and watched grow.

Podcast 20: Jelle Fekkes

The most logical one to listen to next is Jelle Fekkes. His background and growth path are partly similar to Evelyn, but he thinks very differently. Much more almost like a graphic designer or and architect. In planes, lines, and especially functions. He really takes his clients, but also us as listeners, into that -if it is good- never ending thought process.

Podcast 19: Madelon Oostwoud

Madelon Oostwoud is not a designer, but a writer. She traveled to food forests, interviewed the owners, and then drew out and relayed her experience for us. Her book Food Forests was the first Dutch-language book on food forests, and that book has sold at least 15,000 copies. Who is the person who has that drive? And how important is she in spreading the food forest virus?

Podcast 15: Weruschca Kirkegaard

With Weruschca Kirkegaard and then Louis de Jaeger, we ascend to greater heights: landscapes around the world. Weruschca comes from the world of styling and restaurants. And now brings that mentality of wanting perfection and excellence to the world of permaculture and landscape design. Nothing spice spirals, but restoring completely degraded landscapes. She takes the craft very seriously and, along with Daniel Halsey, is building a whole team of designers with United Designers.

Podcast 24: Louis de Jaeger

Louis de Jaeger is the youngest guest in this topic, and he can -so our experience in this podcast- fly much further than the first generations of pioneers. He has his own design firm, but also writes books, is a sought-after speaker and makes documentaries and now international films. The way he actually designs his own life and brings more and more people into it is a very catchy ending to this topic about scale and communication power.

Listened to everything?

Are you also familiar with our first theme? No? Then go straight to So many food forests ... so many kinds of food forests