February 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm #998
Here is an interesting article from naked capitalism which fits in perfectly into our lifeboat information blog.
I’ve done some “Cherry picking” to make my point.
[GEOFF LAWTON] This is another interesting system that we’ve been lucky enough to visit in Vietnam, about seven hours south of Hanoi in the province of Ha Tinh.
… And the old gentleman and his wife were processors for food for their meal, they showed us around, and I casually asked, How long had it been there, how long has this system been established, and it turns out — about two acres of ground, probably a little bit less — it’s been in the family for twenty-eight generations. So it’s a completely different timescale of establishment, because everything has been tried and tested. The bees’ hives, the natural bees’ hives in hollow logs, all the medicinal plants, every plant, every tree, in the system had a use, had a story, and if it wasn’t a specific, regularly used food, it was a very specific medicine or herbal tonic.
For me, it was an absolute shock to try and understand the timescale of the establishment I was looking at.
But I’ve also read Charles Mann’s 1491*, about “pre-Columbian” [cough] culture in the Americas, and it includes these amazing passages on the Amazon rain forest, which, as it turns out, was also edible. From page 306 forward:
Of the 138 known domesticated plant species in the Amazon, more than half are trees. (Depending on the definition of “domesticated,” the figure could be as high as 80%.) Sapodilla, calabash, and tucumai; babacu, acai, and wild pineapple; cocopalm, American-oil palm, and Panama-hat palm — the Amazon’s wealth of fruits, nuts, and palms is justly celebrated. “Visitors are always amazed that you can walk in the forest here and constantly pick fruit from trees,” Clement said. “That’s because people planted them. They’re walking through old orchards.” …
It’s Not a Fairytale: Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest
Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.
We live in Edmonton, Alberta where we have an abundance of apple, crab apple, pear and cherry trees as well as rhubarb and raspberry patches that are no longer being harvested by the homeowner for numerous reasons. We were saddened to see this fruit being thrown out or left to rot on the trees. So we asked these homeowners if we could rescue the fruit and have also collected excess fruit from other homes in our area and turned it into jams, jellies and condiments. We are amazed at the bounty and after just one year of work are reving up for our second very busy year in 2012 as more and more people have already offered us their trees to pick for this upcoming year. Even in this colder northern climate there is plenty of food if one learns how to collect and preserve it. We are learning how to respectfully partner with those who have abandoned or excess produce to share. We are also using this enterprise to build program and training opportunities for special interest groups as well as to teach courses on preserving and to start some other social enterprise initiatives built on the bounty of Mother Earth and our neighbours. Our final product is appealing because it is local, usually not sprayed or chemically treated in any way and has a very low carbon foot print as we pick in our neighbourhood, make the product by hand here and sell at our Farmer’s Market. That is living local in it’s true form. It is also another “R” in the reuse, recycle world – Rescue! Carol from Fruits of Sherbrooke
I recently completed a master thesis on the subject of “Urban Food Forestry” and undertook a lengthy literature review; I identified at least 14 that predate this in North America, not to mention the 50+ Communities Take Root projects and Fruit Tree Planting Foundation projects. There are also much older example, including a 2000 year old food forest in Morocco. I also analyzed 30 urban forestry master plans and identified 4 cities that are incorporating fruit trees into their plans (three in BC, one in California). If anyone is interested in more detail on this new frontier of urban agriculture, I’d welcome you to check out my thesis (constructive criticism welcome!) You can find it by typing “urban food forestry” into Google. I will be publishing the first academic article devoted to this subject later this year with a professor in Sweden, likely in the Journal of Landscape Ecology or Journal of Urban Ecology. There is also a book on this subject entitled “Public Produce” by Darrin Nordahl. @(the real) Dave Jacke: I’m sitting between both volumes of Edible Forest Gardens at the moment as I work on editing my paper. Truly awesome works! Yourself along with Eric, Martin Crawford, Patrick Whitefield, Robert Hart, Geoff Lawton, among many other pioneers have been a huge source of inspiration to me. To all the naysayers – yes, there are a lot of potential problems with urban food forests/forest gardens, yet there are a numerous examples of successful projects out there. If you need more proof, go to Sweden where urban fruit trees are ubiquitous and produce a bounty of fruit every year (I harvested hundreds of free pounds of urban fruit while living there).
Miami/Dade has had a pickable forest near Homestead since the 1940s. https://www.fruitandspicepark.org/ They avoid the overpicking problem by only allowing picking of fallen fruits. Since these are all trees, the fruits will eventually fall. This wouldn’t work quite as easily with lingonberries and other shrubs. There is also an admission charge for casual visitors and they sell jams and other souvenirs to support the park. It is well worth a visit, though it is not as intensely planted as most permaculture forests. There are lots of lawn spaces.
what I am learning about forest gardens is that the social structure of the human community that maintains the garden must cohere with the social structure of the garden itself. Spend as much if not more time designing the human component of the garden vs. the garden itself!!! This is critical to success!! After over 30 years of watching permaculture develop, I would say that lack of good human social system design is where permaculture in general always seems to fail! Please take heed of this point in big huge loving way people!!! Rock on everyone, have fun and enjoy the beautiful communities you are building together, as well as the fruits, nuts, and whatever else you’ll have growing there! Make as many mistakes as possible as fast as possible, ideally on paper first so you can make some really interesting mistakes on the ground that we can all learn some great stuff from! Enjoy the adventure.
This concept is also working in Europe: https://wakeup-world.com/2011/12/14/a-deliciously-resourceful-town-aims-for-total-food-self-sufficiency-within-7-years/
A Deliciously Resourceful Town Aims For Total Food Self-Sufficiency Within 7 Years
For the vegetable-swipers are not thieves. The police station carrots — and thousands of vegetables in 70 large beds around the town — are there for the taking. Locals are encouraged to help themselves. A few tomatoes here, a handful of broccoli there. If they’re in season, they’re yours. Free.
So there are (or were) raspberries, apricots and apples on the canal towpath; blackcurrants, redcurrants and strawberries beside the doctor’s surgery; beans and peas outside the college; cherries in the supermarket car park; and mint, rosemary, thyme and fennel by the health centre.
The vegetable plots are the most visible sign of an amazing plan: to make Todmorden the first town in the country that is self-sufficient in food.
‘And we want to do it by 2018,’ says Mary Clear, 56, a grandmother of ten and co-founder of Incredible Edible,
as the scheme is called.
Pam reckons a project like Incredible Edible could thrive in all sorts of places. ‘If the population is very transient, it’s difficult. But if you’ve got schools, shops, back gardens and verges, you can do it.’
Similar schemes are being piloted in 21 other towns in the UK, and there’s been interest shown from as far afield as Spain, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada. And, this week, Mary Clear gave a talk to an all-party group of MPs at Westminster.
Todmorden was visited by a planner from New Zealand, working on the rebuilding of his country after February’s earthquake.
This is great! We’re up in Vancouver, where fruit trees are everywhere. Our company put all of them on a map:
– we’d love to do that in Seattle if the community is interested in such a thing. We’re working on setting up ‘freshness’ notifications for citizens who’d like to know when trees near them are ripe and ready for attention. Such wonderful things happening in food right now!
This is very exciting! I have one correction though, here in Asheville, NC we have and edible food forest that is a public park: George Washington Carver Edible Park, started by City Seeds fourteen years ago, and now maintained by local non-profit Bountiful Cities. You can read about it here: https://www.mountainx.com/article/28026/Edible-park-just-keeps-on-giving
We have our own permaculture oasis here on the Southeast coast!
—April 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm #2290
Alpha Beta SoupMember
JAL – I went to Amazon to find the book that I bought several years ago, only to find that the selection has expanded! Never pick anything wild or weed unless you know what it is. 100%! But yes, there is quite the harvest available in the forest. Or your lawn.
This is the book I have:
But all you have to do is search for edible weeds or edible forest and tons more come up.
I rely on the books that have photographs (vs drawings) because my memory is so poor now I can’t remember most weeds year to year. (It was acceptable to happen to my mother, but it was NOT supposed to happen to me! :angry: ) and I don’t want to kill myself eating poisonous plants.
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