Food Forests Across America!
In an uncertain economy and changing world, local food security is an essential element to becoming sustainable in this emerging Green Economy. Food Forests Across America is a loosely affiliated group of permaculture designers organizing around the initiative to transform lawns, parks, gardens, residences, and empty spaces into thriving edible landscapes that are beautiful, regenerative, and produce an abundance of delicious, locally grown food! Members of this group or permaculture designers are actively organizing workshops, projects, and initiatives installing food forest gardens around the country. Food Forests Across America appeared on Visionary Culture Radio in April of 2009, at Harmony Festival in June of 2009, and at Earthdance in September 2009 showcasing a demonstration food forest garden, giving interactive tours, and hosting a panel discussion of permaculture designers. Food Forests Across America is seeking to raise money to build a website to more closely link together our work and the work of other permaculture designers and food foresters around the country. Our intention is to showcase and promote food forests workshops and projects,and to powerfully inoculate this initiative into the culture at large.
What is a Food Forest Garden?
Imagine a forest where every single tree is dripping with fresh fruits and ripening nuts. Every shrub is packed with delicious berries, and every other plant is a medicinal herb, culinary spice, or beautiful edible flower. Tubers and root crops are abundant underfoot, gourmet mushroom logs sprout in the shade, and hardy kiwi vines climb back up through the layers of this multi-functional forest of food.
Food forests are diverse gardens modeled after natural ecosystems designed to mimic the way a forest thrives and regenerates. A forest continuously nourishing all elements in the system and produce a vast diversity of outputs, but requires little or no inputs to sustain itself. By recognizing the self-supporting, mutually beneficial relationships of the elements in a forest—from tall trees, smaller trees, shrubs, herbs, ground covers, vines, nitrogen fixers, insectaries, fungi, animals, and more, the food forest garden designs a similar system but replaces the components that are in a common forest with species that are preferred edibles and more useful for humans. The forest then becomes a Garden of Eden, in which edible or useful plants are found from head to toe, where something in season is always ready to eat, and the system requires little or no maintenance to sustain and regenerate.
Trathen Heckman – Exucutiver Director, Daily Acts
Jay Ma – Co-Founder, Director of Programs & Development – Living Mandala
Marisha Auerbach – Founder & Director, Herb ‘n Wisdom
Devin Slavin – Founder, Grow Food Party Crew
Trathen Heckman is an author, activist and wordsmith, who writes, teaches and organizes around cultivating and harnessing the power of our daily actions to restore and restory our world. Seeking to inspire the engagement of hearts, minds and senses, he weaves a blend of Buddha-mind and eco-design as consciously applied to the simple daily acts at the heart of healthy lives and communities. Trathen is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Daily Acts Organization, the Executive Director of Green Sangha, and the publisher of ripples journal.
Jay Ma is a permaculture designer, facilitator, and community organizer committed to cultural healing through Peacemaker Principles. He received his first permaculture design certification through Naropa University in 2001, a B.A. through New College of California in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community with a concentration in Eco-Dwelling/Natural Building, and is a graduate of the pioneering training intensive in Regenerative Design & Nature Awareness. Since then Jay has been developing educational programs, retreats, workshops, and events as well as community land development projects with organizations including the Regenerative Design Institute (www.regenerativedesign.org), the Institute of Noetic Sciences (www.ions.org), Gaia University (www.gaiauniversity.org), and others. Jay is co-founder and director of programs and development of Living Mandala (www.livingmandala.com) – an emerging collective of educators, designers, and consultants, and works with others organizing educational courses, workshops, and events for eco-social regeneration in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. He is currently an associate with Gaia University in Organized Learning for Eco-Social Regeneration, and working on the development of the Regional Center of Gaia University in the San Francisco Bay area. Jay is also a certified Permaculture Teacher, a Fire Walk Instructor through Sundoor International (www.sundoor.com), and is passionate about renewing Rites of Passage experiential programs for people of all ages.
Marisha Auerbach has been practicing, studying, and teaching permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for the past eight years. Marisha is working to share knowledge and educate others on a variety of topics including: permaculture, flower and gem essences, local economics, community building, ethnobotany, herbalism, edible landscape design, organic gardening, and others. She is enthusiastic about and building local community through the power of gardens, local economics, and creating perennial forage systems. Marisha’s interest in local economics and creating useful items using her resources manifests as several projects. Marisha works on a local community marketplace in Olympia WA; she founded and operates Queen Bee Flower and Gem Essences, a business which produces and herbal products she makes from her gardens; Herb ‘n Wisdom , a permaculture design consulting service; and Growing Greetings, a business which produces plantable greeting cards and other products. Marisha also operates a plant nursery which focuses on edible flowers and other gourmet specialty food items. Marisha graduated from the Evergreen State College in 1998 where she focused on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and sustainability studies. She continues to interact with students from the Evergreen State College by offering internships as well as on-going events and workshops at the beautiful permaculture gardens she caretakes in Olympia, WA.
Devin Slavin is a permaculture designer, eduator, and founder of the Grow Food Party Crew and Abundance In Balance. He has been intensively studying and applying permaculture in a wide variety of situations – from farming to teaching to landscape design and building. Devin has a BA in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community with concentration in Ecological Agriculture through New College of California and has studied and worked with the Regenerative Design Institute for over two years.
Upcoming Food Forests Workshops
Transform Your Lawn Into a Food Forest!
Nov 6-8, Berkeley, CA