Learn everything you need to know about a food forest

What's involved in (starting) a food forest?

A food forest. It sounds very appealing. It's like paradise! Everywhere there is something tasty to snack on and it also grows without manure and without pesticides.

Unfortunately, that attractive image often leads to the mistake that establishing a successful food forest is also very easy. You put down trees and nature does the rest. You don't have to do anything else.

This is both true and false. A successful food forest is not just planted, but built from a sound theory based on making nature's principles work for you as well as possible. And if you do that well, nature can then take over much of the usual work from you. But, how exactly does that work and what can you do right and wrong here?

A complete basic module

In this module we will not only teach you the theory of successful food forests, but also give you a solid start for making a plan, the regulations and reading the many map systems available in the Netherlands. We'll also teach you how to look at land, and what the basic design principles are.

The module has three live days and two online learning days. You visit three food forests, each started from very different starting situations and founded by three top pioneers in the business. This gives you a very complete picture of what a food forest is, what it looks, tastes and feels like and what it means to start one. You'll visit food forest Ketelbroek, now more than 10 years old, started on a corn maker by Wouter van Eck, the food forest on poor sandy soil in a forest that Martijn Aalbrecht planted nine years ago and food forest Lekker Landgoed by Maarten Schrama and Jan Degenaar that was started seven years ago on rich windy clay with grass.  

Three modules in annual training

For some projects, the knowledge from this module is more than enough to proceed with the plan after that.But, this training has three modules for a reason. In the second and third modules: design and food forest plan, the groups are smaller and the guidance is more intensive. Because in those modules you get to work on your plan yourself. You literally make your design and your plan. Again guided by really the top people in the business. 

So the year-long food forest training can be taken modularly, but as a whole is a complete journey to your -often life-changing- plan. You can also choose to take only a combination of basic with design or with food forest plan. 

Practical information

We will teach the module basics three times in 2024, once on Wednesdays in March and April; on Fridays in May and June and the last on Thursdays in September and October. 

Each time there is one or two weeks between each day of class so that you have time to properly process the information while also keeping the pace.

This module includes three live days and two online teaching days plus the necessary reading, studying, watching and doing.

If you want to do this module well, it is smart to plan an additional 10 to 20 hours outside of classes. You can also choose to do that work later, as all class days are recorded and you will continue to have access to this and all other course materials for years to come. 

What do our students say about the basic module?

An extremely informative and inspiring course that offers enough to get you started and makes you curious about what else there is to learn.
Angelique de Vries
Very inspiring and enthusiastic course!

Paulien Kruiper
Dietician, food expert and future food grower
Awesome palette of information offered, with a good diversity of teachers, types of food forests and knowledge. Very cool!
Koen de Ridder
If you want to learn something about how to create a future "Garden of Eden", go take a course in food forests!
Sarah Lisa Lugthart
Do. For anyone who cares about how we should treat our planet.
Daan Soer, founder of food forest Swoolish
Follow the entire training course. For the content, the knowledge and the network.

Roel Willems
Documentary filmmaker and co-founder Food Forest Factory
It is quite difficult to take everything into account when starting a food forest. This module helped me well on my way. I could see the forest for the trees!
Judith Goossens, founder of food forest 't Brook Montfort
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excursion to ketelbroek

Module Basic 2 on Fridays in May and June 2024

dates: Fridays 17-5, 24-5, 31-5, 7-6 and 14-6 2024
Investment: € 600 excl. VAT, max. number of participants 20
Teachers Wouter van Eck, Marieke Karssen, Martijn Aalbrecht , Maarten Schrama
Locations: Food Forest Ketelbroek in Groesbeek (1x), De Voedselboss near Hengelo(1x) Lekker Landgoed in Harmelen (1x) and other days digital + access to a considerable amount of digital (film) material, an online course environment where you can save all your work and share it with the group.

This module deals with a general and broad introduction to the food forest. What is a food forest? How does the system work? And what do you need to consider if you want to start one? The combination of live and digital leads to a nice mix of concentration, reference, real experience and networking.

After this module, you will be well versed in what a food forest is and know how to proceed if you have serious plans. For an optimal teaching experience, count on between 10 and 20 hours of additional time outside the course days. 

In the morning, Wouter van Eck explains the basics of a food forest. In the afternoon, we get an extended excursion through food forest Ketelbroek.

This is a digital course day. In the morning, you get to work with the modules about succession and soil and fungi structure. In the afternoon, Wouter van Eck will digitally teach you about these using the formula for a successful food forest. You can also do the morning work earlier in the week. 

This day is also digital. In the afternoon Marieke Karssen will give an intensive lesson on everything that is involved in a good plan.In the morning or actually all week you can already get started on your own site and with the digital exercises in which we also show you the way in a good set of online map systems that can help you well on your way.

Day four takes place at Martijn Aalbrecht's food forest in Hengelo. Martijn teaches about planting, regulations and the elements of good design in the morning. In the afternoon, we get a tour of his nine-year-old food forest that he has realized in an existing forest. 

On the last day we are guests at Lekker Landgoed in Harmelen. This is a large food forest that is now 7/8 years old. In the morning one of the founders Maarten first gives some in-depth information about soils and especially the clay/pasture base under this food forest. But he also addresses also the social and economic aspects of Lekker Landgoed. In the afternoon, Maarten gives a field trip.

Summary and investment

All class days, including the live days are recorded. So if you can't be there, you won't miss anything, because you can always watch the recording again.

From the start, we offer you a digital course environment where you can find the course materials including all recordings, where you can easily ask questions among yourselves and/or make carpool arrangements, and where you can also store all your files. 

The cost is €600 excluding VAT for the first module and €850 excluding VAT for the design and food forest plan modules. Once you choose to take more than one module, or have taken a course/module with us before, we offer you a 10% discount. If this is the case for you, you will have received an email about this. All amounts mentioned here are excluding 21% VAT

We deliver this annual training according to our terms of delivery. These are simple and clear, so please read them.

If you are unable to pay the training fee at once, or if you work for an organisation that uses invoicing, please contact us.

Module Basic food forest 2: May-June 2024

600,00 excl. VAT/VAT

The basic training is a rounded unit that covers all aspects relevant to starting a food forest. Design and business plan are also briefly introduced. The module has three live days and two online learning days. You visit three food forests, each started from very different starting situations. This gives you a good idea of what a food forest is and means.
Maximum of 20 students at the basic module.

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