What is a food forest?

A food forest is an edible ecosystem you can create in your own backyard and/or front yard. Any size garden can be transformed into an edible landscape. The best way to start a food forest is to plant some hardy perennial leafy greens, especially if you are a bit impatient as I am! A small raised garden bed is a good start. One of my favorite raised garden beds for hardy perennials is the instant garden bed. Even a 20cm high garden bed can make a huge difference. It doesn’t cost much to fill it, and you can plant your first edibles instantly! We use this kind of system to plant our fruit trees, too as the topsoil we have is not the best. Building up is the trick! Some other tips that will help you to be successful with your food forest:

  • start small and expand on your success
  • start at the house and expand further as you progress
  • start with plants that you can use in different ways – food, biomass, chop and drop, living mulch, groundcovers, and so on
  • mulch around your plants
  • plant fruit trees and fruiting bushes, as many as possible so you have enough for yourself and to share with wildlife. Remember, they are hungry, too.
  • never use harmful chemicals in your food forest. Even the ones labeled as organic will harm beneficial insects and bring your ecosystem out of balance
  • biodiversity is the key to success!

We grow over 150 different edibles plus annual vegetables in our food forest at Permaculture Haven in Pacific Haven QLD Australia. All the plants and seeds you find on this page are grown with love and care, 100% naturally, without chemicals, and are propagated from the mother plants in our food forest. If you find it hard and don’t know where to start, we can also help with designing or re-designing your place into an edible paradise. If you need some help with where and how to start, check my Permaculture services page here.

Plants, cuttings, and seeds, sorted by layers of the food forest

For Permaculture consultation, edible landscape design, education, workshops, and online courses, visit our Permaculture Haven website for more info.

Watch this short video from Geoff Lawton to understand how food forest works and what it is.

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