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11a Camino Ancon, Santa Fe New Mexico 87506 (USA)

Food Forest

Food Forests are wonderfully productive ecosystems, small or large in scale. Food forests are designed to meet needs of the particular family or community – as well as to produce habitat, be of benefit to wildlife, increase ecological resilience and create abundance.

Food forests mimic the architecture and beneficial relationships between plants and animals found in a natural forest or other natural ecosystem. Food forests are not “natural”, but are designed and managed ecosystems (typically, complex perennial polyculture plantings) that are very rich in biodiversity and productivity.

Guilds are a combination of plants, animals, insects, fungi, and even people. Guilds can be found in healthy ecosystems, and can be designed and planted to make your food forest, garden, pasture, woodlot, or community healthier and more productive.

Each guild participant contributes something valuable to the entire composition. For example, most plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, other nutrients, and pest control for healthy growth. By combining food plants with nitrogen fixing plants, nutrient accumulators, and beneficial insect attractors, one can design and build a thriving edible ecosystem that reduces work and inputs on behalf of the gardener.

Read more about our own demonstration site, and about our Food Forest here.

Below are links to the past issues of the Permacuture Drylands Magazine – Sustainable Living in Drylands on the subject of plants, guilds and growing. Please keep in mind that all articles reflect the values of the authors and illustrators, as well as the time periods in which they were written.

Finding the Hidden Garden by Gary Paul Nabhan

Fourwing Saltbush Useful Pioneer by Daniel Howell

Harvest the Desert Cholla Buds by Esther Moore Hasan

The Saguaro Harvest by Emma Hardesty

Jatoba Staff of Life

Multi purpose Tree Crops for Drylands byDavid Bainbridge

Mushrooms in Drylands by Tammy Davis

Pinyon Jumiper Guild Associations by Ben Haggard

Planting in Extreme Conditions by Tim Murphy

Plants Under Pressure by Sue Mullen

Prickly Delight by Kevin Dahl

Surrounded by Food by Ann Audrey

Using Edible Flowers by Ben Haggard