Many people who hold living sustainably as a goal strive to grow as much of their own food as possible. A Permaculture approach to this is through perennial systems like Food Forests.
There are differences between a typical orchard and a Food Forest. An orchard is usually just the fruit or nut trees, with or without a ground cover underneath. A Food Forest is a whole system that incorporates food-producing plants like berries and tubers between and under the canopy of trees. These dynamic systems also include plants that attract beneficial insects and build healthy soil. In this way a Food Forest becomes a self-organized system providing for its own pollination, pest management, and soil health.
A Food Forest can grow cut flowers or medicinal plants that provide the benefits of biodiversity, pest management, and a marketable crop. Other benefits to planting a Food Forest are that they become a haven for wildlife, absorb water, reduce erosion, beautify the land, and provide the perfect environment for walking and relaxing outdoors.
Food forests can take a few years to mature and our maintenance plan reflects the needs of this kind of landscape. Although harvesting will begin in the first year, a healthy Food Forest is expected to start yielding peak amounts of food in five to seven years. With proper maintenance this can last for many, many years.