Like all of us, environmentalists are extremely concerned about the sustainability of our food supply resources, especially now that extreme weather conditions become more prevalent than ever before.
Amazingly, the road to a sustainable food supply in the future might lay in the creation of edible forests. Martin Crawford is Director of the Agroforestry Research Trust, a British charity focusing on research into temperate agroforestry. Martin has pioneered the creation of an edible forest which mimics natural ecosystems.
Commercial farming focuses on mass planting of annual plants in a very structured way. Although this method has ensured mass food production in the past, nature is playing less and less according to natural patterns and rules. This type of edible agroforestry mimics natural ecosystems and uses the space available in a sustainable way.
Having large areas covered with only one type of seasonal plant is something you will not find in nature and has its own vulnerabilities. Natural forests have up to seven layers of growth, which protects itself from harsh weather conditions and minimize the effect of otherwise catastrophic natural events. Martin’s forest exists of editable and echo friendly and supporting plants.
With earth warming and extreme weather conditions threatening traditional methods of food production and farming, agroforestry might be the saving grace of the future, where “save the forest” will entail much more than just oxygen supply and protecting fauna and flora. Man-made forest of edible plant life may become a valuable source in the food supply chain.
Martin encourages people to start their own agroforest. Referring to the seven layers of natural plant growth in forests, canopy trees, small trees, shrubs, perennials, ground cover plants, root crops and climbers, as well as vines, can produce up to 500 edible plants. It is not required to know all the species of plants which can be used, but one can make a start and expand your “food” forest (or forest gardening as it is also known) as you go along.
How To Create An Edible Food Forest In Your Back Yard: Eco-entrepreneur and TED Fellow Shubhendu Sharma grows ultra-dense, biodiverse mini-forests of native species in urban areas by engineering soil, microbes and biomass to kickstart natural growth processes. Follow along as he describes how to grow a 100-year-old forest in just 10 years…