A food forest is a way of growing food and other plants for human and animal use.
Food forests, a type of permaculture food system, can be incorporated into any sized garden and once established can be incredibly productive.
Shannon Wright from Backyard Jem has teamed up with Marea Verry from the Weston A. Price Foundation Hamilton Chapter, to transform the Verry's backyard into Verrywell Garden, which aims to be a model for sustainable gardening in an urban environment, with 60 square metres of permaculture garden and a mini food forest.
At Verrywell Gardens the Food Forest is designed to provide food for the humans, the chickens and the bees. It is efficiently designed to mimic what happens in the natural world.
A typical food forest has layers of root crops, herbs, shrubs, plants, bushes, trees and climbing vines. Each layer has a different purpose. Nitrogen fixers, like tree lucerne and mineral accumulators like comfrey, support fruit trees which are heavy feeders.
Choosing the right method of establishing a food forest could save a lot of time and effort and Shannon and Marea are keen to share their learning experience.
A teaching day on Sat 8th April will focus is on the layers in a food forest and improving the soil to grow nutrient dense food. Everyone is welcome, from novice to experienced gardeners who are keen to learn more about establishing a food forest.
Following this will be a workshop to learn to make apple cider vinegar and fruit ferments where you can learn more about what to do with some of that fruit grown in your food forest.
* Saturday April 8, 11am-1pm - Food Forest (or orchard) and feeding the soil, layers in the food forest, feeding fruit trees/soil, improving the soil, making your own biochar (activated carbon) and soldier fly farm. Koha
* Sunday April 9, 2-5pm - Learn to make apple cider vinegar and fruit ferments workshop at 2pm at Forest Lake School. $5-$20
More info available at backyardjem.co.nz/urban-garden-forest-project, email Marea Verry firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone welcome. Location is Verrywell Garden: 97 Storey Ave, Forest Lake, Hamilton.