I have decided to spend some of my time getting involved with the Beacon Hill Food Forest. I have been interested in finding out more about permaculture, so I figured that volunteering to help create a permaculture landscape would be a good start.
What is a food forest? From the Beacon Food Forest website:
Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that
mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs,
perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees are the upper level, while
below are berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals. Companions
or beneficial plants are included to attract insects for natural pest
management while some plants are soil amenders providing nitrogen and
mulch. Together they create relationships to form a forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food with less maintenance."
Since I don't know that much about this kind of landscaping/gardening/philosophy, I have a lot of questions that I hope to have answered over the course of my time volunteering. I will address them here as I go.
Some of my initial questions are:
1. Are soil minerals used or does this system rely on compost from the canopy and nitrogen fixing plants?
2. Are specific varieties of plants used that have not been selectively bred for high yielding commercial agriculture dependent on chemical pesticides/fertilizers?
3. How is soil compaction addressed if people are walking everywhere to harvest?
stay tuned for more!