Our forest garden is a living ark supporting and supported by hundreds of useful and functional, native and non-native plants, whose ecological niches run the gamut of ecological succession and make up a healthy and diverse landscape mosaic within a larger permaculture context. We gather our sustenance in every way from our garden, organizing ourselves in a non-centralized, autonomous, and directly democratic way to provide ourselves and our community spiritual, cultural, and physical living from this land and water.
Desired foods and other useful products (types and season) and specific “must-have” species.
We eat fresh food from our garden May through November with a large surplus to sell, process and to put into storage for winter provisions.
The forest garden and greenhouses provide a variety of edible fruits, nuts, berries, shoots, leaves, roots, culinary herbs, medicinals, edible flowers, and mushrooms.
We cultivate honeybees, fish, crustaceans, poultry, eggs, pig and goat products from our aquaculture and forage arrangements.
Other essential needs you want the garden to fulfill, whether spiritual, emotional, aesthetic, practical, or otherwise;
We create our living completely from our forest garden which provides us leisured repose, income, spiritual and physical sustenance, and knowledge.
We are a bioregional archetype for effective, sustainable, decentralized permaculture design.
We are an ecological haven for augmenting the Earth’s and societal health.
Other (present and future) uses of the site with which the forest garden must be compatible.
Homes, microcommunities and their surrounding forest gardens within our ecovillage are nuclei that merge, compounding the ecological benefits of a social mutualism.
Our community is an effective space of resisting and eliminating oppression in all its human manifestations.
Our ecological community is a space for other local communities to gain support in their struggles against heteronomous power and oppressions.
Desired successional stages and vegetation architecture or patterns.
Our forest garden is a mosaic of dynamic successionary stages, composing patches of forest and gap ecologies in the outer zones, and windbreaks and savannaesque oldfield mosaics in the closer zones, with the majority of the garden in midsuccession aggradation.
We consciously direct the ecological succession of our environment, through intelligent rotating agroforestry, coppice rotation and polyculture guild development.
Our forest garden has a diversity of “feels” – some wilder, some managed and manicured, some sunny and open, some shady, and some private.
How your garden relates to the larger ecosystem and neighborhood context, e.g., are there functions you want the garden to perform to make the environment healthier or to improve your privacy, connection to neighbors, views, or other issues?
Our forest garden functions as a communitarian hub of activity, supporting community gatherings of all types and uses.
Our forest garden is an oasis in a currently degraded ecosystem, which positively influences our neighbors to want to create similar ecological manifestations.
Our garden is supportive of a vast biodiversity of beneficial wildlife.
We bring the soil and water back to life after protracted observation and intelligent labor, thereby maintaining a self-regenerating fertility and transformation of polluted ground waters into clean water.
Your sense of your basic approach to key issues such as
use of native, exotic, and opportunist species;
We choose the species in our garden based on their ability to fit a specific niche regardless of region of origin, although we go out of our way to incorporate underutilized western prairie natives.
how much you want to adapt to or modify problematic site conditions;
To quickly maximize productivity, we modify the site to the design’s requirements in zones 1 and 2.
In zones 3 outwards, we select species and develop a design that works with the existing conditions of the site.
your willingness to work for desired high-maintenance crops or to eat whatever you can grow with minimal effort;
We put in the required work our CSA requires and do not do not use any herbicides, fungicides or non-organic pesticides (organic pesticides are used as only a last resort method).
Being adaptable to the necessities of our patrons, we grow all socially lucrative vegetable, grain, fruit, nut, medicinal, vining, root, and meat crops and foods we consume as a living cooperative, provided they are hardy to our climate zone and greenhouses.
We emphasize palatable, resilient, “pest-proof” species where appropriate.
in what ways, if any, you want to experiment, and what you are not willing to risk.
We experiment with various polycultures and guild arrangements, acorn grain milling and palatability, grafting, propagation, mushroom cultivation, and habitat creation for endangered species, with a caveat that our food supply is reliable and our financial needs are met through a successful CSA (until the capitalist epoch is superceded or until our situation is less precarious upon the vagaries of state land entitlement).
We experiment with sustainable green building techniques such as greenhouse design, moldering compost toilets, and other building methods to expand and suit the human community and its daily needs.
Your maintenance and establishment efforts and approximate total budget.
Forest garden maintenance is done by members of the worker’s cooperative, ranging between 1-6 people who put in anywhere between 30-50 hours of work a week depending on “rush” or “non-rush” garden requirements.
Zone 1 and windbreaks are planted as instant successions while zones 2 and beyond are relay planted, as nuclei that merge, to improve soil quality until higher value crops may be assured success when they are planted.
We rely on labor time of members in the worker’s cooperative, out of pocket and living cooperative financing for early garden establishment, and grants, CSA, market garden, and nursery revenue for forest garden development.