Measure your food forest harvest(s)

The genesis of the project

Marieke Karssen from The Plant, Jeroen Kruit from WENR, Rob Janmaat from De Lynx, Wouter van Eck from Foodforest Ketelbroek and Frank Gorter from Welna estate all wrote an application in the spring of 2019 for a POP3 subsidy with the aim of developing a feasible and affordable research method that can also be used in the long term to substantiate the eternal discussion about the unverifiable promises of food forests in the short term, and not just in 10 years' time.

In November 2019, the application was approved with a POP3 contribution from the province of Gelderland and the EU and we could get started.

Design and purpose

With the Measure Your Food Forest Harvest project, we developed a uniform and accessible way to measure the most important yields of food forests. It is about biodiversity, CO2 storage, soil improvement and the harvest in the traditional sense of the word with herbs, fruits, nuts and possible revenues from excursions etc.

The method chosen is that of Citizen Science. Anyone can easily carry out the tests themselves and so many food forests can participate. The results can serve as a basis for funding applications and help food forest owners to compare themselves with others and thus learn from each other.

The aim is that the scale and transparency with which data from this ongoing research is shared will accelerate the development of food forests. While the promises of better yields, greater biodiversity, better soils and more CO2 storage are still based on the experiences of a few food forests, in the future there will be much more data to make statements about this.

Incremental development and lots of testing

In the first quarter of 2020, we developed the methodology. Both the scientific set-up and the first version of the interface. We provided these with the same basic explanations we now give to the participants and then asked twenty food business owners to conduct the citizen science surveys and enter them into the online tool.

We put these testers to work in three rounds. Each time, they gave us feedback and we could check whether they had done the tests properly. This was followed by a validation process by seven students from the WUR, and in each round the interface became clearer and the research methods simpler and more straightforward without compromising quality.

co2 storage in trees

Together we make the world wise

From 29 October 2020 onwards, the time has come. Then, anyone with a food forest can create his or her own profile and project, keep track of CO2 storage, biodiversity, soil life and economy of his or her own forest or forests for free and share it with science.

This is a huge thing. Because if we show the world that those little blades and all those weeds already mean an insane amount for biodiversity, for the quality of the soil and the storage of CO2, then together we will convince all those people who are still hesitating.

On 29 October, the tool will be launched during a very well-attended webinar. During this webinar, it will be explained how the tool works, what the scientific basis is, how you can get started with it and what we (can) do with the results. Speakers are Wouter van Eck (Ketelbroek), Jeroen Schütt (WENR) and Marieke Karssen (The Plant).

The team

The project team of Meet Your Food Harvest consists of green network organisation The Plant, communication agency the Lynx, Wageningen University & Research, Foodforest Ketelbroek and Welna estate.

Two years ago, The Plant also carried out a POP3 project together with Welna Estate, in a slightly different composition, called Business cases for you and Welna Estate. These business cases can also be found on this website and can be downloaded by anyone

Both projects and their shareable outcomes were developed with the help of POP3 grants from the Province of Gelderland and the EU.

The partners in the Measure Your Food Forest Harvest project

The Plant
Communication Office the Lynx
Wageningen University and Research
Foodforest Ketelbroek
Welna country estate