Category: Food Forests

7 Ways to Use the Humble Choko Vine

Its spring time in Australia, and our area in Far North Queensland has gratefully received a decent fall of rain. I’m gleefully anticipating the springing to life of our un-irrigated areas that had gone dull and dormant during the dry weather. Among other things, I’m looking forward again to abundant chokos. I used to think of choko as a bland, boring vegetable. I didn’t like skinning it, and I didn’t […]

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Invasive Thoughts: A Battle with Conscientious Consciousness

I did a lot of research. I hummed and hawed, danced around the issue, came up with a veritable pros and cons type of list. Ultimately, the base of our food forest needed some fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing trees, and whether or not they were native came to feel somewhat moot. I found a good tree species. It was readily available (and free). What difference did it make if folks had deemed […]

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How to Green the Desert: Europe’s Heatwave and some Holistic Suggestions

In the Northern Hemisphere, the balance of light is turning ever more towards darkness as we approach the Autumn Equinox. This is following a summer which in many places was unusually hot and dry(1, 2). This is perhaps not unexpected; climate change scientists have been predicting extreme temperature spikes for a number of years(3). However, it seems that a lot of farmers were nevertheless unprepared and many crops have been lost(2). […]

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8 Abundant “Fodder Forest” plants, and how to use them

This morning when I went to feed the animals I thought I’d start with collecting some pigeon pea for our horse, Trippy, and see what I could find for the pigs in the fodder forest while I was there.   Our fodder forest is a small beginning in my long-term goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel-based agriculture. It’s an area roughly an eighth of an acre, […]

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Texas Food Forest and the Results of Good Design.

Five years ago we moved to our current property in North Texas.  While the general area is not particularly challenging, the property itself was.  The three acre property has anywhere from 11 inches (28cm) to as little as 3 inches (7.6cm) of soil, sitting atop a limestone slab.  Note: not rocks but solid slab. An insane place to build a permaculture property but we set to making it happen. In our […]

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From Big City Kuala Lumpur to Rural Kampung, Chalin Food Forest

Malaysia might not be a country that is known for permaculture, but many of the tropical ancestral practices of our forefathers reveal wisdom and the interconnection of humans and nature. Who would have thought the supposedly simple act of daily burning of excess leaf litter with branches in front of the ‘kampung’ or village house, actually helps fumigate the whole compound off mosquitoes and pests. The burning is done by […]

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Tropical Food Forests

One of the biggest myths of the industrialized food system is related to the issue of productivity. The massive monocultures of wheat, soybeans, corn, and other products that are cultivated by GPS-controlled combines and fertilized with heavy doses of chemical fertilizers are upheld as the standard of maximum productivity of the land. Following from this myth, we are led to believe that if it wasn’t for the genius of industrial […]

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Broccoli Rabe

There’s little dispute that including vegetables in our diets does indeed improve our overall health and supplies our bodies with valuable nutrients to function properly and perform at our best. To ensure that we are receiving a full range of these nutrients we need to be mindful that we work to vary our diets. Often, we can get in a rut, eating the same few veggies, week in and week […]

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Dig the Fig – The Essential Guide to All You Need to Know About Figs

Man and fig have come a long way since then but have remained very much good friends, travelling and setting up home together all over the world where summers are warm and dry and winters are cool.

During this article, we’ll be focusing on the common fig – Ficus carica. We’ll look at fig types, hardy figs, fig cultivation, fig reproduction, fig propagation, good companions plants for figs, and growing figs commercially.

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A Dozen or More Plants That Provide Quickly and Abundantly

I am for a new system of food production in which we utilize perennial plants more, slowly replacing our tendency to eat, nearly exclusively, annuals with a diet better suited to self-sustaining, soil-building, long-living agricultural ecosystems. I know these systems, in the end, will serve us better as a planet (humanity having to exist on said planet), has the potential to provide well-balanced abundance, and give us lives less reliant […]

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A Global Wiki – A Call to Join

Designing perennial polycultures (guilds) can be a big challenge. It can be hard to find information on perennial crops and support species. There is a need for information, sample polycultures, and design templates. The Apios Institute is a collaborative network of farmers, gardeners, and researchers focused on integrated perennial-crop agroecosystems (variously known as multistrata agroforests, tropical homegardens, food forests, and forest gardens). Since 2007 we have worked to address these […]

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Guidelines for Perennial Polyculture Design

Guidelines for Perennial Polyculture Design

Polyculture design can be bewildering and even intimidating. I’ve been planting and thinking about polycultures for over two decades. During that time I’ve planted a lot of failed polycultures that didn’t work for one reason or another, as well as some successful ones. I’ve also visited many sites in many climates and seen polycultures functioning very well – especially in the tropics, where agroforestry systems are much farther along than my cold temperate home.

I’ve assembled a set of guidelines for designing polycultures, that I’d like to share with you. They are a work in progress and far from perfect, but, in concert with the design process shown below, they have helped hundreds of people in my courses and workshops to feel ready to go home and design and install their own polycultures.

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