Forest gardening is a low-maintenance, sustainable, plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers to build a woodland habitat.
Forest gardening is a prehistoric method of securing food in tropical areas. In the 1980s, Robert Hart coined the term "forest gardening" after adapting the principles and applying them to temperate climates.
Forest gardens are probably the world's oldest form of land use and most resilient agroecosystem. 124 They originated in prehistoric times along jungle-clad river banks and in the wet foothills of monsoon regions. In the gradual process of families improving their immediate environment, useful tree and vine species were identified, protected and improved whilst undesirable species were eliminated. Eventually superior foreign species were selected and incorporated into the gardens.:
Forest gardens are still common in the tropics and known by various names such as: home gardens in Kerala in South India, Nepal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania; Kandyan forest gardens in Sri Lanka;huertos familiares, the "family orchards" of Mexico. These are also called agroforests and, where the wood components are short-statured, the term shrub garden is employed. Forest gardens have been shown to be a significant source of income and food security for local populations.
Robert Hart adapted forest gardening for the United Kingdom's temperate climate during the 1980s.His theories were later developed by Martin Crawford from the Agroforestry Research Trust and various permaculturalists such as Graham Bell, Patrick Whitefield, Dave Jacke and Geoff Lawton.
Hart began farming at Wenlock Edge in Shropshire with the intention of providing a healthy and therapeutic environment for himself and his brother Lacon.Starting as relatively conventional smallholders, Hart soon discovered that maintaining large annual vegetable beds, rearing livestock and taking care of an orchard were tasks beyond their strength. However, a small bed of perennial vegetables and herbs he planted was looking after itself with little intervention.
Following Hart's adoption of a raw vegan diet for health and personal reasons, he replaced his farm animals with plants. The three main products from a forest garden are fruit, nuts and green leafy vegetables. m2) orchard on his farm and intended naming his gardening method ecological horticulture or ecocultivation. :45 Hart later dropped these terms once he became aware that agroforestry and forest gardens were already being used to describe similar systems in other parts of the world. :28, 43 He was inspired by the forest farming methods of Toyohiko Kagawa and James Sholto Douglas, and the productivity of the Keralan home gardens as Hart explains: "From the agroforestry point of view, perhaps the world's most advanced country is the Indian state of Kerala, which boasts no fewer than three and a half million forest gardens ... As an example of the extraordinary intensivity of cultivation of some forest gardens, one plot of only 0.12 hectares (0.30 acres) was found by a study group to have twenty-three young coconut palms, twelve cloves, fifty-six bananas, and forty-nine pineapples, with thirty pepper vines trained up its trees. In addition, the small holder grew fodder for his house-cow." :4–5He created a model forest garden from a 0.12 acre (500
Robert Hart pioneered a system based on the observation that the natural forest can be divided into distinct levels. He used intercropping to develop an existing small orchard of apples and pears into an edible polyculture landscape consisting of the following layers:
A key component of the seven-layer system was the plants he selected. Most of the traditional vegetable crops grown today, such as carrots, are sun-loving plants not well selected for the more shady forest garden system. Hart favoured shade-tolerant perennial vegetables.
The Agroforestry Research Trust, managed by Martin Crawford, runs experimental forest gardening projects on a number of plots in Devon, United Kingdom.Crawford describes a forest garden as a low-maintenance way of sustainably producing food and other household products.
Ken Fern had the idea that for a successful temperate forest garden a wider range of edible shade tolerant plants would need to be used. To this end, Fern created the organisation Plants for a Future which compiled a plant database suitable for such a system. Fern used the term woodland gardening, rather than forest gardening, in his book Plants for a Future.
Kathleen Jannaway, the cofounder of Movement for Compassionate Living (MCL) with her husband Jack,wrote a book outlining a sustainable vegan future called Abundant Living in the Coming Age of the Tree in 1991. The MCL promotes forest gardening and other types of vegan organic gardening. In 2009 it provided a grant of £1,000 to the Bangor Forest Garden project in Gwynedd, North West Wales.
Kevin Bradley in the US called his property and nursery "Edible Forest" in 1985, which combined trees and field crops. Today, his business and the 2005 book Edible Forest Gardens have spawned little "edible forests" all over the world.
Bill Mollison, who coined the term permaculture , visited Robert Hart at his forest garden in Wenlock Edge in October 1990. 149 Hart's seven-layer system has since been adopted as a common permaculture design element.:
Numerous permaculturalists are proponents of forest gardens, or food forests, such as Graham Bell, Patrick Whitefield, Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier and Geoff Lawton. Bell started building his forest garden in 1991 and wrote the book The Permaculture Garden in 1995, Whitefield wrote the book How to Make a Forest Garden in 2002, Jacke and Toensmeier co-authored the two volume book set Edible Forest Gardens in 2005, and Lawton presented the film Establishing a Food Forest in 2008.
Forest gardens, or home gardens, are common in the tropics, using intercropping to cultivate trees, crops, and livestock on the same land. In Kerala in south India as well as in northeastern India, the home garden is the most common form of land use and is also found in Indonesia. One example combines coconut, black pepper, cocoa and pineapple. These gardens exemplify polyculture, and conserve much crop genetic diversity and heirloom plants that are not found in monocultures. Forest gardens have been loosely compared to the religious concept of the Garden of Eden.
The BBC's Unnatural Histories claimed that the Amazon rainforest, rather than being a pristine wilderness, has been shaped by humans for at least 11,000 years through practices such as forest gardening and terra preta .Since the 1970s, numerous geoglyphs have been discovered on deforested land in the Amazon rainforest, furthering the evidence of Pre-Columbian civilizations.
On the Yucatán Peninsula, much of the Maya food supply was grown in "orchard gardens", known as pet kot.The system takes its name from the low wall of stones (pet meaning 'circular' and kot, 'wall of loose stones') that characteristically surrounds the gardens.
In many African countries, for example Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Tanzania, gardens are widespread in rural, periurban, and urban areas and they play an essential role in establishing food security. Most well known are the Chaga or Chagga gardens on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. These are an example of an agroforestry system. In many countries, women are the main actors in home gardening and food is mainly produced for subsistence. In North Africa, oasis-layered gardening with palm trees, fruit trees, and vegetables is a traditional type of forest garden.
El Pilar on the Belize–Guatemala border features a forest garden to demonstrate traditional Maya agricultural practices.A further one acre model forest garden, called Känan K’aax (meaning 'well-tended garden' in Mayan), is funded by the National Geographic Society and developed at Santa Familia Primary School in Cayo.
In the United States, the largest known food forest on public land is believed to be the seven acre Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, Washington.Other forest garden projects include those at the central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt, Colorado and Montview Neighborhood farm in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Boston Food Forest Coalition promotes local forest gardens.
In Canada Richard Walker has been developing and maintaining food forests in British Columbia for over 30 years. He developed a three acre food forest that at maturity provided raw materials for a plant nursery and herbal business as well as food for his family.The Living Centre has developed various forest garden projects in Ontario.
In the United Kingdom, other than those run by the Agroforestry Research Trust (ART), there are numerous forest garden projects such as the Bangor Forest Garden in Gwynedd, northwest Wales.Martin Crawford from ART administers the Forest Garden Network, an informal network of people and organisations who are cultivating forest gardens.
A Forest Garden plays a significant role in the Video Read-Opera "Marisette's Voice," where it is the object of political machinations between two candidates for city council in the fictional city of Augusta, CY. It is also used as a metaphor for one type of society.
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. In gardens, ornamental plants are often grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants, such as root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruits, and herbs, are grown for consumption, for use as dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use. Gardening is considered by many people to be a relaxing activity.
Permaculture is a set of design principles centered on whole systems thinking, simulating, or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields such as regenerative agriculture, rewilding, and community resilience.
Companion planting in gardening and agriculture is the planting of different crops in proximity for any of a number of different reasons, including pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects, maximizing use of space, and to otherwise increase crop productivity. Companion planting is a form of polyculture.
Robert Adrian de Jauralde Hart was an English pioneer of forest gardening in temperate zones. He created a model forest garden from a 0.12 acre (500 m²) orchard on his farm. He credits the inspiration for his work to an article by James Sholto Douglas, which was in turn inspired by the work of Toyohiko Kagawa.(page 41)
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sustainable agriculture:
Horticulture is the agriculture of plants, mainly for food, materials, comfort and beauty for decoration. Horticulturists apply knowledge, skills, and technologies to grow intensively produced plants for human food and non-food uses and for personal or social needs. Their work involves plant propagation and cultivation with the aim of improving plant growth, yields, quality, nutritional value and resistance to insects, diseases and environmental stresses. They work as gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, and technical advisors in the food and non-food sectors of horticulture.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to organic gardening and farming:
Vegan organic gardening and farming is the organic cultivation and production of food crops and other crops with a minimal amount of exploitation or harm to any animal. Vegan gardening and stock-free farming methods use no animal products or by-products, such as bloodmeal, fish products, bone meal, feces, or other animal-origin matter, because the production of these materials is viewed as either harming animals directly, or being associated with the exploitation and consequent suffering of animals. Some of these materials are by-products of animal husbandry, created during the process of cultivating animals for the production of meat, milk, skins, furs, entertainment, labor, or companionship; the sale of by-products decreases expenses and increases profit for those engaged in animal husbandry, and therefore helps support the animal husbandry industry, an outcome most vegans find unacceptable.
A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area.
Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. This diversification of the farming system initiates an agroecological succession, like that in natural ecosystems, and so starts a chain of events that enhance the functionality and sustainability of the farming system. Trees also produce a wide range of useful and marketable products from fruits/nuts, medicines, wood products, etc. This intentional combination of agriculture and forestry has multiple benefits, such as greatly enhanced yields from staple food crops, enhanced farmer livelihoods from income generation, increased biodiversity, improved soil structure and health, reduced erosion, and carbon sequestration. Agroforestry practices are highly beneficial in the tropics, especially in subsistence smallholdings in sub-Saharan Africa and have been found to be beneficial in Europe and the United States.
This is an alphabetical index of articles related to gardening.
Martin Crawford is a British author who is the founder and director of the Agroforestry Research Trust.
Forest farming is the cultivation of high-value specialty crops under a forest canopy that is intentionally modified or maintained to provide shade levels and habitat that favor growth and enhance production levels. Forest farming encompasses a range of cultivated systems from introducing plants into the understory of a timber stand to modifying forest stands to enhance the marketability and sustainable production of existing plants.
The Agroforestry Research Trust (ART) is a British charitable incorporated organisation that researches temperate agroforestry and all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops. It produces several publications and a quarterly journal, and sells plants and seeds from its forest gardens.
Foodscaping is a modern term for the practice of integrating edible plants into ornamental landscapes. It is also referred to as edible landscaping and has been described as a crossbreed between landscaping and farming. As an ideology, foodscaping aims to show that edible plants are not only consumable, but can also be appreciated for their aesthetic qualities. Foodscaping spaces are seen as multi-functional landscapes which are visually attractive and also provide edible returns.
Climate-friendly gardening is gardening in ways which reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from gardens and encourage the absorption of carbon dioxide by soils and plants in order to aid the reduction of global warming. To be a climate-friendly gardener means considering both what happens in a garden and the materials brought into it and the impact they have on land use and climate. It can also include garden features or activities in the garden that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.
Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. Practices include recycling as much farm waste as possible and adding composted material from sources outside the farm.
A community orchard is a collection of fruit trees shared by communities and growing in publicly accessible areas such as public greenspaces, parks, schools, churchyards, allotments or, in the US, abandoned lots. Such orchards are a shared resource and not managed for personal or business profit. Income may be generated to sustain the orchard as a charity, community interest company, or other non-profit structure. What they have in common is that they are cared for by a community of people.
Rubus tricolor is an evergreen prostrate shrub, native to southwestern China. Leaves are dark green above, pale green below, and stems have red bristles. It has white flowers in summer, and edible red fruit. It grows approximately 0.3 m (1 ft) high and usually forming a vigorously spreading, dense mat. In cultivation it is mainly used as groundcover. Common names include Chinese bramble, groundcover bramble, creeping bramble, Korean raspberry, Himalayan bramble, Groundcover Raspberry. In Chinese it is called 三色莓.
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