Food Forests

IMAGINE

By 2050, a network of ~200 food forests exists covering at least 200ha of agricultural land in your region. They provide biodiversity islands and wind-breaking corridors; healthy food products from fruits, herbs and nuts contributing to planetary health diets; educational and recreational events for guests and volunteers as well as diverse incomes from products and services for forest farmers.

Each food forest enterprise is part of a decentralised hub focused on management of the system and marketing of its products. In each hub, around 12 food forests share specialty tools for harvesting, jointly use processing facilities and marketing channels, exchanges knowledge about specialty crops and provides consultancy services to bring more agroforestry, edible landscapes and the use of their products into the region.

A national network that connects and represents all regional food forest hubs is well connected with an entrepreneurial ecosystem that support their uptake and establishment. Amongst others, it fosters the professional education of food forest farmers to run a polycultural farm as well as a multi-functional business. It further supports forest farmers in gaining long-term access to land as well as start-up funds for infrastructure and staff. The network is also the political advocate for food forestry and upholds the legal acknowledgement for biodiverse, dense agroforestry as a high priority land use type.

~ Food Forest Vision, Stefanie Albrecht, 2024 ~

In October 2017, I started my PhD, visiting numerous food forests from around the world and initiating two sites (Food Forest Cooperative Phoenix & Waldgarten Hof an den Teichen). Both sites are still in the process of development as economic pressure in industrial countries is challenging the upatake of such long-term, strong sustainability solutions.

This websites shares material and stories from our diverse inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations around these food forests and partners in the region as well as students and colleagues from Leuphana University L√ľneburg and Arizona State University. Representatives from four sites have contributed to this website, in particular, Dr. Agnes Friedel, David Tollas and Alexis Trevizo. Student work include edited extracts from Bachelor thesis work of Mercedes Schroeder, Annika Thaer and Elisabeth Ferguson.

We hope these insights are relevant to numerous practitioners that have setup, are in the process or plan to set-up a food forest, or a similar long-term, biodiverse food production system. This may include farmers, urban planners, scientivist, gastronomists or other people engaged in the health, food and sustainability sector. We know this is just the start to a more economically conscious and successful food forest movement.

This website shall develop as an open-access planning and implementation support tool for sustainable food forest enterprises. It is structured along the success factors which we found to be relevant when developing sustainable food forests. Over the long term, application of such tools may contribute to a successive shift, strengthening this ambitious sustainability solution and building professional food forest farmers.