Image credit: stephengbooks
From wild permaculture forest gardening on the BBC to a tour of a 20-year-old permaculture garden, we've seen a fair few examples of "forest gardens"—edible landscapes designed to mimic the form and function of a young, natural woodland. But the concept os so different from either traditional farming, or most techniques for backyard food growing, that it is always worth revisiting. I recently posted a link to an interview with forest gardening pioneer Martin Crawford, and I have just come across a great video in which Crawford explains both the theory and the practice of forest gardening, and introduces us to some of the common harvests too.This video has been around a while, but it is such a simple, accessible introduction to forest gardening—a term that I find a lot of people have a hard time getting their heads around—that I couldn't help but post it. Crawford is the founder of the Agroforestry Research Trust, a non-profit based in the South West of England that dedicates itself to researching and cataloging plants and techniques that can be used in agroforestry and forest garden settings.
There are, of course, challenges in introducing diversity and polycultures in an agricultural or horticultural setting too, and it really is anyone's guess whether agroforestry and forest gardening can give traditional agriculture or gardening a run for its money on a large scale. But with many farmers rediscovering the benefits of perennial fodder crops and no-till farming, the distinction between mainstream methods and alternatives may be blurring anyway.
Crawford is doing his part in exploring frontiers new and old for both the garden and the farm. Here's another, longer video for more inspiring insights from the Agroforestry Research Trust's forest garden.
More on Forest Gardening and Perennial Agriculture
If Diversity Is Key to Sustainable Farming, Why Is It So Difficult?
Farmers Explore Perennial Fodder Crops
Wild Permaculture Forest Gardening on the BBC (Video)
Touring a 20-Year-Old Forest Garden (Video)