A food forest is unlike any regular garden or backyard. There are certain tools and techniques required to ensure a flourishing and healthy food forest ecosystem. Now, what are the benefits of growing one?
If you grow your own food forest, you’ll be less dependent on grocery stores and supermarkets. You’ll know where your food comes from and you’ll be able to provide for yourself and your family in case of an emergency.
What is a Food Forest?
A food forest is a collection of edible plants grown in a way to mimic natural ecosystems and patterns. Food forests are three-dimensional constructions with life extending out in all directions – up, down, and outward.
A food forest does not have to be replanted year after year. It is generally quite resilient once it has taken root. Creatures may wander in and snack on some of the herbaceous edibles in certain areas, but other species will be unpalatable or out of their reach.
There are many benefits to growing a food forest. They include:
- Providing a habitat & food for pollinators, birds..
- Stabilizing soil
- Reducing erosion
- Capturing rainwater and sunlight
- Producing food
Essential Tools for Your Food Forest
If you’re thinking about starting your own food forest, or already have one, here are some essential tools to have on hand.
A spade is probably the most important tool you’ll need for your food forest. It will be used for a number of activities such as digging holes for tree and shrub planting, preparing beds for planting, and turning compost. Look for something that is comfortable in your hands and will last a long time.
Trowels are ideal for more detailed work and small side projects within a food forest ecosystem.
A gardening hoe is useful for weed control and preparing planting beds. It has a flat blade that’s great for chopping weeds and loosening up soil.
Loppers can cut anything as thick as a thumb. This is the one tool where a plastic handle is beneficial because it makes them light. Choose a pair that is well-balanced. Take care of the blades by avoiding using them on anything too thick. Carefully sharpen and oil them to maintain maximum efficacy.
A wheelbarrow is a great tool for moving mulch, soil, plants, and more around your food forest without breaking your back in the process.
A compost bin is essential for tending to a food forest. It’s a great way to recycle organic matter and add nutrients back into the soil. This can be matter from your kitchen waste, or organic waste from your food forest itself.
Now that you are familiar with these fundamental tools and items for your food forest, you should be well equipped to tend to yours from now on! If you don’t currently have a food forest, that’s not a problem! Food forests are a way to have access to healthy, sustainable produce. Not only will you be able to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor, but you’ll also be helping the environment by creating a space that is rich in biodiversity. Plus, it’s a great way to get outside and connect with nature. So what are you waiting for?