A food forest is a diverse, perennial garden that mimics a forest ecosystem and patterns found in nature. Through layers of design, life extends in all directions producing food, medicine, sanctuary, and habitat.
Food forests incorporate 7 layers of edible plants including fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, rhizomes, mushrooms, and perennial vegetables. A food forest is thoughtfully designed to produce maximum nutrition, beauty and abundance.
Food forests integrate and draw from the disciplines of permaculture, regenerative agriculture, ecology, biology, and other natural sciences. Together, these disciplines create a living set of tools and practices that can help us engage with nature and our food production in a meaningful way.
A diverse community of life can grow in a small space, making food forests especially suitable for urban and suburban environments. At a deeper individual level, the practice of food forestry can help us cultivate ourselves and transform the ways in which we see and live in the world.
This is the largest layer of a food forest system and acts as a productive windbreak crop. It is composed of trees that are typically 40+ feet once fully mature.1 of 8 Understory Layer
This layer is made up of small productive trees, or large shrubs, designed to increase crop yield. This layer is usually 10-25ft once fully mature.2 of 8 Shrub Layer
A perennial crop, consisting primarily of berries and medicinal varieties but also used to build habitat and pollinator support. These plants are usually kept at 10ft once mature.3 of 8 Herb Layer
A mix of annuals and perennials, this layer is smaller plant varieties that die back in Winter but return in Spring. These are generally culinary and medicinal herbs used to confuse pests and minimize disease.4 of 8 Vines
An additional layer of productivity, the vining layer is vertical grow space. This increases yield and pollinator attraction as they climb through the larger layers of the food forest system.5 of 8 Root Zone
An underground layer of edible plants is used to increase soil texture and fertility. These are usually medicinal and culinary roots and tubers.6 of 8 Mycelial Network
This is an underground communication network which ties all of the layers together. The mushroom is the fruiting body, while the mycelium assists in carbon sequestration, is a decomposer, and builds a dynamic community of essential microorganisms in the soil. This is the foundation of the whole system.7 of 8 Ground Cover
Creeping, living mulch layer. These plants are an essential part of the forest floor and are implemented to increase yield diversity, soil protection, and habitat for insects and wildlife.8 of 8
We designed a food forest on 700 square feet in Orlando, FL and it’s loaded with over 40 food and medicine producers. Through the layers of a food forest and what’s planted, more can be yielded in the same square footage of space as an annual garden.
An average backyard installation costs about the same as conventional landscaping. We can grow a lot of food for $10K.
Food forests are forever. Perennial plants can take between 2 and 5 years typically, however, we also plant annual vegetables for your short-term food supply.
You first share details with us about your space, how much you want designed, and what you want out of your food forest. Your designer will gather the information they need and use Google Earth and other tools to assess your property and create the food forest design of your dreams.
Yes. We work with our network of local food forest installers, in locations all across the country and globally, to ensure your designed food forest is installed professionally and to the highest standards. If you are in a remote area, or an area that we do not yet serve, we will do our best to travel to you.
Since our launch on Earth Day 2021, we have designed food forests for customers in 40 states and 15 countries, including resorts in Thailand, large farms in Africa, and single family residences from Poland to Mexico and all around the United States. Our professional food forest designers can design in any location around the world.
Our food forest designs are low-maintenance and, over time, self-sustaining like a natural forest would be. We will create a design that suits your lifestyle and provide any necessary care instructions, support, and training. The best way to maintain is to observe and interact with joy.
A food forest is thoughtfully designed to produce maximum nutrition, beauty and abundance.