I have a question

Food forest 2 - 4 hectares start near Amsterdam (max 30 km drive) - How to find place?

I am Mick Perez, a.k.a. Software Developer but want to change course. I have long longed for a self-sufficient lifestyle, living in connection with nature and like-minded people, working outside, eating healthy food, giving back biodiversity, etc. 15 years back busy looking for a place for an Earth ship in Portugal. But in the end that turned out not to be feasible. Too expensive, too hot, too many challenges and later difficult to combine with young children. Still, it kept itching.

About 3 years ago I heard the word Food Forest and was triggered. Slowly started reading, watching videos, joined foodfromtheforest.com, visiting food forests, listening to the Food Forestcast, discovering Syntropic Farming by Ernst Gotsch, attending lectures, etc.

My previous job ended and as a result things have gained momentum for me. I would really love to establish 2 - 4 hectares (to start with) of food forest somewhere at most 45 min drive from Amsterdam. I tend to opt for the Syntropic approach. Although I realize that is a choice with far reaching and labor intensive consequences. Ideally I would like to tackle this together with other green enthusiasts, this is not something you do on your own.

Meanwhile, a lecture by Marente Lokin on the earning power of food forests in Ghent also woke me up in terms of realism. A food forest is not going to pay off quickly and you shouldn't think you can make a living purely on the harvest. There really is a range of (matching your own qualities) earning models involved.

Anyway, I want to give it a real shot and therefore I would like to get in touch with others who want to start a food forest. With the idea of exchanging information (techniques, earning potential, planning, financing, subsidies, mistakes made and lessons learned, etc.) helping each other and possibly even doing something together.

I guess the main question now: where / how on earth do you find a (somewhat affordable / rentable) place to start this?

I am emailable: perez.mick@gmail (dot) com
Whatsapp available: +31 6288 400 one six

Warm greetings!


PS. Below my criteria, don't be alarmed. There are quite a few :-)


Criteria for finding a suitable area for a 2-4 ha food forest:

Ground: ★★★★★☆☆

  • Type: Sandy or loamy soil with good drainage is ideal, but clay soil can also work with additional drainage. ★★★☆☆
  • Fertility: Moderate to fertile soil is sufficient. ★★☆☆☆
  • Contamination: soil must be free of contamination by heavy metals or other toxins. ★★★★★
  • Sunny: At least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day is required for most food forest crops. ★★★★☆

Climate: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆.

  • Average temperature: A temperate climate with mild winters and warm summers is most suitable. ★★☆☆☆
  • Precipitation: Annual precipitation of 750-1000 mm is ideal, but can be supplemented with irrigation in drier areas. ★★★☆☆
  • Wind: Shelter from strong winds is important for protecting trees and crops. ★★★☆☆

Water: ★★★☆☆

  • Availability: Reliable access to water is essential for irrigation, especially in drier areas. ★★★★☆
  • Quality: Water should be clean and free of contamination. ★★★☆☆
  • Infrastructure: Presence of a water source or the possibility of drilling a well is an advantage. ★★★☆☆

Accessibility: ★★☆☆☆

  • Accessibility: The area should be easily accessible by road or path for transporting materials and products. ★★☆☆☆
  • Distance: Proximity to markets and other outlets is beneficial for selling products. ★★☆☆☆
  • Infrastructure: Availability of electricity and other utilities may be helpful. ★★☆☆☆

Surroundings: ★★☆☆☆

  • Biodiversity: The presence of existing trees, shrubs and other vegetation can accelerate the development of a food forest. ★★★☆☆
  • Neighbors: Local community support is important to the success of a food forest project. ★★☆☆☆
  • Regulatory: Check for local laws and regulations that may affect land use. ★★★☆☆


  • Elevation: Choose a site with higher terrain to account for rising sea levels over the long term. ★★★★☆
  • Flooding: Keep in mind rivers in the area and choose a location that is not too risky in terms of flooding ★★★★☆
  • Soil Quality: Select an area with healthy, fertile soil suitable for long-term food production without soil depletion ★★★★★
  • Biodiversity: Prefer a site with existing biodiversity, such as trees, shrubs and other vegetation, to accelerate food forest development and promote ecosystem services ★★★★☆

Market potential:

  • Marketing channels: Assess proximity to markets, restaurants and other potential buyers for your food forest products. ★★★☆☆
  • High Quality: Choose a site with a favorable climate and microclimate to grow high quality products that are attractive to discerning buyers ★★★★☆
  • Unique features: Look for a location with special features that can differentiate your food forest products and give them a higher market value, such as rare varieties, unique flavor profiles or a focus on biodiversity ★★★★★


  • Community Involvement: Involve the local community in the project from the beginning to foster support and cooperation ★★★★☆
  • Educational Value: Choose a site that is accessible to the public and can host educational activities to share knowledge about food forests and provide inspiration ★★★★☆☆
  • Collaboration with institutions: Assess proximity to research institutes, universities or other centers of excellence that may be interested in collaborating or conducting research in your food forest. ★★★☆☆
  • Research infrastructure: The presence of research facilities, measuring instruments or data logging capabilities in the area can be useful for collecting data and monitoring your food forest. ★★☆☆☆
  • Educational purposes: Consider the potential to use your food forest as a learning environment for students, researchers or other interested parties. ★★★☆☆

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