Kent Food Forests specialize in the designing, planting, and maintaining of Food Forests and Edible Landscapes, self sustaining mini ecosystems that make having good food easy. Using your garden or property this way is called Permaculture, which means 'Permanent Agriculture', although your garden will still look like a garden and not a farm- its simply a way to live more sustainably and eat healthier.
Designing using Permaculture principles, like producing no waste and the cycling of nutrients and energy, makes the system stronger, more resilient, and produces more nutrient dense food.
Rather than having a garden that's only purpose is to look nice for a few months of the year, I can-
- Create something ideal for foodies who want a living larder full of a diverse range of interesting ingredients.
- Keep the look and aesthetics of a conventional garden, yet make it something productive and useful as well. Many conventional garden plants are used as food in other parts of the world, and are surprisingly tasty and nutritious.
- Design and plant it to become its own highly productive, low maintenance ecosystem that supplies food from early spring up until the Autumn.
- Fill every available niche and space with something useful, this way your garden wont need the constant attention that makes weeding and maintenance so essential for upkeep. By making sure each part of the area you need designing is being put to the best possible use, with edible plants, herbs, nuts, fruits, plants that add fertility, it will become its own closed loop system that not only provides fresh food for you and your family, but a haven for bees, birds, insects and wildlife.
- Turn it into something that saves you time and money. There will always be an REGENERATIVE abundance of food and edible plants to hand, which depending on how much room you have to develop, can have a huge impact on your shopping bill, time spent getting food, and time spent maintaining the garden.
- Design using principles from nature that mimic the way a young forest works to make it self sustaining and regenerative. Unlike in commercial growing, I'll use a diversity of plants in the plan to keep away pests, add fertility and build topsoil, removing the constant need for pesticides, fertilizers and composts. Once it is established the whole system is strengthened by the increased interconnections from beneficial fungi which move nutrients around the system to where they are needed most.
- Make use of any area you're not sure what to do with, from large paddocks or open area's that seems too imposing to have to plan, to areas that seem tiny and insignificant and that are rarely visited. Alternatively, if required, use every bare wall, bed and corner of your property to provide you with healthy, seasonal, fresh food that will reduce your shopping bill and improve your health.
- Use the area to be designed to lower your carbon foot print and environmental impact. By having so much food to hand, you're less dependent on the food from super markets and the environmental impact large scale farming causes. It also means a lot less oil has been burned for you to get the food you need. The leaf litter, flowering plants, and fertile soil means you will attract and look after bee's, bird's and insects at a time when their habitats are increasingly scarce.
These pictures are examples of Permaculture principles when applied on a large scale. The World Bank set up a project at the Leoss Plateau in China to restore 'centuries of overuse and overgrazing that led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty.' In just over ten years, they found that 'through the introduction of sustainable farming practices, farmers’ incomes doubled, employment diversified and the degraded environment was revitalized'
A summary of the project can be read in more detail here.