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Food Forest Design: Strategies for Green Urban Infrastructure
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Food Forest Design: Strategies for Green Urban Infrastructure

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This power point presentation and all photos therein are copyright Jim O'Donnell 2010. This presentation details the possibility of greening our urban environments by using permaculture techniques.

This power point presentation and all photos therein are copyright Jim O'Donnell 2010. This presentation details the possibility of greening our urban environments by using permaculture techniques.

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  • Explain what we are going to talk about. Note that this is a VERY basic introduction.
  • Continue with what we are talking about
  • First some definitions. These ideas are not unique to the practice of permaculture but they are an integral part of the practice of permaculture. Explain where perma came from
  • More definitions
  • When Europeans arrived in the Americas they looked for row crops and, finding few, they assumed that the natives had just very simple forms of agriculture. Anthropologists thought the same thing until very recently. Little did they know or imagine that those seemingly wild jungles just beyond the settlement fringe were actually complex agricultural systems. Most were just cleared away.In Kazahkstan there exists food forests dominated by 60-70ft tall apple trees of many varieties. These food forests also produce pears, apricots, cherries, plums, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, mulberries, hawthorn, rosehips, rasberries, bilberries, goodberries, onions, grapes, currents and on and on….
  • Lets start getting into the nitty-gritty. What is this guy talking about? In the end, it’s a very simple concept
  • Three primary practical intentions:Will it be to shade a hot playground? To teach children where food comes from? To bring bio-diversity in to your yard or an urban center? Aesthetics? Medicinals? Food security? How is your site situated? How much sun does it get? How much water? Ultimately, when your garden matures….what do you want it to be? You will want to consider all of these questions as you set to design your garden. Your goals will help to narrow your focus, pick an orientation for your forest and will give you an idea of what to consider in your plant choices. Your vision will dictate function, tasks you want your design to perform, and the products you want your garden to produce.
  • Sustainable restoration/design begins with ecologically sound design
  • It is in the observation of relationships, patterns and cycles that problems are solved and the doors of possibility are opened. It is in the careful attention to the details of your ecosystem that we can learn to design in the dynamic way that nature works. These dynamic systems and interconnections are known as spirals, waves, branches and circles are ubiquitous in nature. We see spirals in the heads of flowers and in the way sap flows through trees. We see branches in rivers and on trees. We see waves at the sea, in air flow and in the gentle movement of sand dunes. Circles? Everywhere. These patterns serve to move energy in an efficient manner. Using the right patterns in your garden will aid in efficiency and productivity. Of these patterns. A “base map” is a drawing that captures everything currently on in the project area…..buildings, fences, trees, hedges, pathways, driveways, power lines, etc, etc……Goals are mutually reinforcing. For example, diverse crops make it easier to design a healthy, self-maintaining ecosystem, and a healthy garden ecosystem should have reduced maintenance requirements.
  • A lot of this is basic landscape design stuff. But its vital to consider these steps when planning a Forest Garden. Here we want to take the observed patterns and visions and overlay them on the project area. Remember though. You are not imposing your vision on the land. You are working WITH the land to find the appropriate ‘tool’. Your design should solve problems, not create new ones. You are combining the vision (function, tasks, products) with what you’ve observed in the project area.
  • that provides a warm and sheltered center space;Place your taller trees to the north so that they wont shade out the other vegetation;In places where the wind blows a lot (like at my house) wind barriers such as fences or hedges will help get your plants establish more rapidly;They, of course, take the longest reach maturity and also help define the shape of the garden;Leave enough room between trees for sunlight to get to the ground;– particularly lots of nitrogen fixers. your species composition will change as might the shape of your garden. In the first few years the lower layers of your garden (annual veggies, etc.) will provide most of your “take”. Later, your upper story will become the main providers,
  • One project from last year was the design of a small, backyard food forest for a homeowner in southern Colorado. I used an apple tree- based polyculture. We centered on several Gravenstien apple trees – because it was a shady area with 100 year old American elms dominating the neighborhood. Under the apples we did garlic and chives and daffodils at the eventual dripline. Closer to the tree we put in a tight mix of comfrey, ruhbarb, yarrow, clover, alfalfa, chicory and nasturtiums.
  • 1. Tall-tree layer: an overstory of multifunctional fruit and nut trees (apple, pear, plum, chestnuts, pinyon, etc.) and/or nitrogen fixing trees (locust, mesquite, alder, acacia, etc.)2. Low Tree layer: dwarf fruit and nut trees and/or naturally small fruit trees (nectarine, almond, peach) and/or flowering and nitrogen-fixing trees (dogwood, mountain ash, mountain mahogany)3. Shrub layer: flower and fruiting shrubs (blueberry, rose, wolfberry, currents, gooseberry, Siberian pea shrub)4. Herb layer: these are perennial non-woody plants such as vegetables, flowers, kitchen herbs and soil building plants.5. Ground cover layer: low-growing plants that offer food or habitat and that push their way into the empty edges and spaces between plants. (strawberries, nasturtium, clover, thyme, etc)6. Vine layer: these are plants that will climb the trunks and branches of the trees (grapes, hops, passionflower, honeysuckle, squash, cucumbers, melons, etc.)7. Root layer: these are the shallow rooting foods (garlic, onions, radish, carrots, etc.)
  • Based on associations observed in nature but designed to meet your goal – fiber supplies, wildcrafting, erosion control, wildlife attraction, toxic soil remediation and so on.You can do this via observation, books and so on. Nature doesn’t distinguish between native and exotic but will use what is available based on the current conditionsCombine your guilds across the landscape to gain a wide variety, diversity
  • Based on associations observed in nature but designed to meet your goal – fiber supplies, wildcrafting, erosion control, wildlife attraction, toxic soil remediation and so on.You can do this via observation, books and so on. Nature doesn’t distinguish between native and exotic but will use what is available based on the current conditionsCombine your guilds across the landscape to gain a wide variety, diversity
  • Elderberry, hackberry, wolfberry grow well under walnut…walnut has slightly allelopathic effects so mulberry on the outside supports transition to other vegetation. Eleaegnus species will work with this guild as a nitrogen fixer. As will acacia or locust on the outside. In the southwest we can put an apache plume in this guild
  • One project from last year was the design of a small, backyard food forest for a homeowner in southern Colorado. I used an apple tree- based polyculture. We centered on several Gravenstien apple trees – because it was a shady area with 100 year old American elms dominating the neighborhood. Under the apples we did garlic and chives and daffodils at the eventual dripline. Closer to the tree we put in a tight mix of comfrey, ruhbarb, yarrow, clover, alfalfa, chicory and nasturtiums.Guilds aren't perfect. Reduced inputs and human intervention but can take a lot of space and are slower to establish. In my home guild I put a lot of annual veggies in my guild to make use of the space and then removed them as the guild matured. Also, what works in one place wont work in another. There is no handy list of guilds to work from. Each location is going to require a new guild based on those conditions.
  • As with all landscaping….start with the contours and major earth moving. Dig your swales and ponds, put in the irrigation pipe and so on. Next, the hardscape. Lay in your patios, benches, paths, spiral gardens, raised beds, etc., make any final adjustments to the contours, form up your keyhole gardens at this point, then lay in your sheet mulches. Next up are the large plants (trees, big bushes) and then your ground covers, flowers, annual vegetables and cover crops. Over the first few months you will find a need to adjust your irrigation system and possibly some of your soil amendments or mulching. Give your plants extra care to get them solidly established.
  • Your forest garden is an ecosystem. It is in and of itself and living being and it supports living beings. Life is born, it grows, it seeds, it consumes and produces and ultimately it dies. Your forest will be in a constant state of flux and change, forever seeking a dynamic equilibrium. When the garden is new, the sunny spaces between the seedlings will be filled with annual vegetables, perennials and flowers. After a couple of years the shrubs and bushes will be at their most productive and should remain so until the garden starts to shade in after about ten years. Your annual vegetable beds will shrink over time as the forest shades. You will have fruit and nuts after three years or so. At the same time, your forest garden will support itself as soil fertility increases, the soil’s capacity for holding water grows and so on. The forest won’t reach full maturity for about twenty years. Given that many of the lives in your forest garden will go on for decades, the garden’s character will change every year as I’ve pointed out. You will need to adapt yourself to those changes. You will need to constantly observe your forest to find new opportunities, new awareness and new lessons.
  • Your forest garden is an ecosystem. It is in and of itself and living being and it supports living beings. Life is born, it grows, it seeds, it consumes and produces and ultimately it dies. Your forest will be in a constant state of flux and change, forever seeking a dynamic equilibrium. When the garden is new, the sunny spaces between the seedlings will be filled with annual vegetables, perennials and flowers. After a couple of years the shrubs and bushes will be at their most productive and should remain so until the garden starts to shade in after about ten years. Your annual vegetable beds will shrink over time as the forest shades. You will have fruit and nuts after three years or so. At the same time, your forest garden will support itself as soil fertility increases, the soil’s capacity for holding water grows and so on. The forest won’t reach full maturity for about twenty years. Given that many of the lives in your forest garden will go on for decades, the garden’s character will change every year as I’ve pointed out. You will need to adapt yourself to those changes. You will need to constantly observe your forest to find new opportunities, new awareness and new lessons.
  • Your forest garden is an ecosystem. It is in and of itself and living being and it supports living beings. Life is born, it grows, it seeds, it consumes and produces and ultimately it dies. Your forest will be in a constant state of flux and change, forever seeking a dynamic equilibrium. When the garden is new, the sunny spaces between the seedlings will be filled with annual vegetables, perennials and flowers. After a couple of years the shrubs and bushes will be at their most productive and should remain so until the garden starts to shade in after about ten years. Your annual vegetable beds will shrink over time as the forest shades. You will have fruit and nuts after three years or so. At the same time, your forest garden will support itself as soil fertility increases, the soil’s capacity for holding water grows and so on. The forest won’t reach full maturity for about twenty years. Given that many of the lives in your forest garden will go on for decades, the garden’s character will change every year as I’ve pointed out. You will need to adapt yourself to those changes. You will need to constantly observe your forest to find new opportunities, new awareness and new lessons.

Transcript

  • 1. The Food Forest
    Strategies For Green Urban Infrastructure
  • 2. "The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."
    ~ Masanobu Fukuoka
  • 3.
  • 4. PERMACULTUREdesign is a method of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms.
    Each component should function in many ways and serve the needs and accept the products of other components.
    The mature system should require the least possible maintenance, and should produce a net surplus of energy over its lifetime.
    ~ Bill Mollison, adapted from “Permaculture: A Designers Manual”
  • 5. NATURAL:
    • A complex, self-regulating, designed ecosystem.
    • 6. Contains a large variety of interdependent plants, animals, insects, birds and microorganisms.
    • 7. Requires no chemical inputs and minimal physical intervention.
  • NATURAL:
    • Utilizes and enriches natural resources.
    • 8. Produces high yields with minimal inputs.
    • 9. Components serve multiple functions.
  • FOOD FOREST
    A food forest (or forest garden) is an ancient agricultural concept that mimics nature in all its glory. Not a vegetable garden but a largely self-maintaining whole and inclusive, interdependent and highly productive system of multi-storied trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers, pollinators, soil, water and you.
    A food forest is an efficient, diverse, beautiful ecosystem that functions like a natural woodland.
  • 10. HISTORY - A concept as old as humanity:
    Africa – “Home Garden”
    Nepal - “GharBbagaincha”
    Maya – “Milpa”
    Amazon – “Terra Preta”
    Kazahkstan – “Apple Forest”
  • 11. HISTORY
    - Robert Hart, 1940s-50s, Keralan Home Gardens, “Forest Gardening”
    - Permaculturists, Mollison & Lawton, Australia, 1970s-90s
    - Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Research Institute, Colorado & Montview Farm, Massachusetts
    - “Edible Forest Gardens” by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmier, 2005
  • 12. “I’m not talking about a gloomy mass of light-blocking trees, but an open, many layered edible woodland garden with plenty of sunny glades and edges.”
    ~ Toby Hemenway, “Gaia’s Garden”
  • 13. DESIGN PRINCIPLES
    •High yields of diverse products such as food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, ‘farmaceuticals’ and fun;
    •A largely self-maintaining garden and;
    •A healthy ecosystem.
    What is it that you would like to get
    out of the creation of your forest garden?
  • 14. DESIGN PRINCIPLES
    SCALE: Energy is captured most efficiently on the smallest scale
    COMPLEXITY: Complex biological systems are the most stable and productive
  • 15. DESIGN PROCESS
    Observation
    2. Patterning (spirals, waves, branches and circles)
    3. Draw a map (Sector Analysis)
    4. Planning
  • 16. Design Process: Designers Map
    - The movement of the sun
    - What are the prevailing wind directions and in what seasons?
    - Where does the rain come from?
    - What are the principle areas of human activity?
    - How do people and animals move across the project area?
    - Where will/does water come from?
    - How does the water moves over the project area?
    - What are your soil type(s)?
    - Are there any slopes? What about aspect?
  • 17. Design Process
    Arrange Space
    Layout Patches
    Detail and Access Elements
    Select Species
    Design Polycultures (5-7 species)
    Establish and Manage
  • 18. CONSIDER
    1. A south-facing U-shaped forest design
    2. Shading
    3. Wind barriers
    4. Trees & woody plants should be planted first
    5. Remember to design for mature size of trees
    6. Include soil building plants into your design
    8. As your forest garden matures…..
    9. Use each niche to its maximum potential
  • 19. A perennial polyculture
    of multi-purpose plants
  • 20. THE SEVEN-STORY GARDEN
  • 21. GUILDING
    A human-made assemblage that mimics a natural community
  • 22. GUILDING
    • What is the dominant species?
    • 23. What offers food to wildlife?
    • 24. What offers food to humans?
    • 25. What species do well in a variety of communities?
    • 26. How do species interact with insects?
    • 27. What produces lots of leaf litter?
    • 28. How do they deal with drought or flood?
    • 29. What are domesticated relatives?
    • 30. Which are nutrient accumulators or Nitrogen fixers?
  • GUILDING: Example: Walnut/Hackberry Guild
    Walnut
    Hackberry
    Elderberry
    Wolfberry
    Currants
    Tomatoes
    Peppers
  • 31. GUILDING: Example: Apple Tree GuildGravenstien Apple
    Garlic
    Chives
    Daffodils
    Comfrey
    Ruhbarb
    Yarrow
    Clover, alfalfa, chicory, nasturtiums
  • 32. IMPLEMENTATION
    Never underestimate what you can do with sufficient time and patience.
  • 33. Evolution
  • 34. Evolution
  • 35. Evolution
  • 36. Why part of urban infrastructure?
    • Storm-water retention
    • 37. Cooling effect (Urban, Buildings)
    • 38. Wind Reduction
    • 39. Pollution reduction
    • 40. Public Space/Recreation
    • 41. Aesthetics
    • 42. Habitat
    • 43. FOOD! …..and on and on and…..
  • PUBLIC SPACES
  • 44. PUBLIC SPACES
  • 45. Jim O’Donnell
    Interface Permaculture
    http://www.wildlandspermaculture.com/
    huajatollas@hotmail.com
    575.779.1181
    Taos, New Mexico, USA