When I posted a video of a 20-year-old forest garden, I suggested it was a great example of what a mature food forest might look like.
But I wasn't even close.
Discovering A 2000-Year-Old Oasis
Perusing the website of the ever-excellent Permaculture Magazine this morning, I came across a video from 2009, made by EcoFilms Australia, of Geoff Lawton talking about a 2000-year-old food forest that he discovered in Morocco in the 70s.
Representing a classic example of a true oasis, Lawton describes walking into the "forest" as being like immersing yourself in an organism. "It made you feel safe", he says. And of course that's exactly what a deliberately cultivated, largely self-perpetuating food production system is intended to do.
A Diverse, Self-Perpetuating Food Forest
From an overstorey of date palms to an understorey of olives, bananas, dates, grapes, guava, mulberries, carob and tamarind, it would be fascinating to compare the output of a system like this compared to the huge monocultures that industrial agriculture is pushing around the world.
As already posted on TreeHugger, Lawton went on to develop desert permaculture projects in the Middle East, as well as producing videos on everything from the magic of soil care to the potential of urban permaculture. But it's Lawton's commitment to learning from the generations and cultures that have come before us that might be his biggest contribution to sustainable food systems.