If you don't know what a food forest is, imagine a space that combines a natural and wild landscape with the benefits and abundance of cultivation. It's got both my favourite things in one; good food and nature.
First off, I love food forests because they mean I can scavenge in my city. I can ride my bike from downtown Victoria to Spring Ridge Commons in less than five minutes! And when I arrive, I walk into a space that makes me feel completely at home. The foot paths are made of wood chips, and the ceilings are formed from fruit tree canopies. I'll walk into the space till' I spot a honey coloured plum lying on the ground, or a goumi berry, shining like a jewel though the greenery.
Secondly, food forests make a splendid place because they have amazing soil. The combination of a sporadic canopy protecting the soil from the sun, and permanent ground covers such as minors lettuce keep the earth healthy. If you were to dig into the soil, you would find it to be rich and fragrant with strings of mycelium amongst it.
Number 3 would probably be because I can bring friends and have a chat. Or perhaps share some local vegan ice cream with a bestie on a bench. Food Forests tend to build community because they are such a nice space to spend time in with friends. Maybe it is also because food attracts us, and so it becomes a food hub....
As well as being an amazing space to bring friends, it is also so good to spend time on your own in a food forest. Wether it be to snack on the bounty, or to lie down beneath the dappled light... Sometimes I go to Spring Ridge Commons when I feel down and I need to cry.
The plants can help one get through. The beauty, the serenity, and the BERRIES make it the best place for hard times.
If YOU would like to witness the magic of a food forest, take a trot by Spring Ridge Commons. If you are interested in food forestry, or permaculture (quite similar), refer to some resources below.
- O.U.R Eco-village
- Pacific Rim College-Permaculture Design
- Food Forests of Canada (includes a food forest map!)
I sincerely hope that you find yourself a food forest. Or rather, start one for your community! Please do share any similar experiences in the comments below, let me know what you have found in your local food forest; have you found mulberries, huckleberries, apples, or kohlrabi?!
Photographer: Mackenzie Clark
Writer: Eden Murray