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What is a Food Forest?

A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature and is therefore more stable over time and cost-effective in resources.

We use the term on loan and cultivate in our food forest, alongside the fruit trees, other plants for other uses such as medicinal herbs, trees that provide shade, trees to climb and play on, an ecological pool to wade through and animals to love and admire.

A forest does not require artificial fertilization or irrigation, and it still has plenty of life and growth. The same goes for a food forest, the goal is to reach a state of self-sustainability which will eliminate the need for external resources such as water, energy, fertilizers, money, and work, and create a stable and powerful eco-system over time, a sustainable system.

This method of agriculture and gardening is called Permaculture; The term is a combination of the words Permanent & Agriculture and means Sustainable Agriculture. In recent years the field has expanded beyond the ecological and environmental fields and also deals with methods of sustainable social and economic conduct, and now also refers to Permanent Culture.

 

The guiding principles of designing and establishing a food forest, are the managing of the health and vitality of soil, the management of water and irrigation, as well as creating diversity and establishing beneficial relationships between the various plants and other elements of the system.

 

In the last ten years, dozens of food forests have been designed and established in Isreal, from the Upper Galilee to the Negev. Each forest with its individual purpose, whether private or public. Some food forests were designed for self-consumption, some for selling produce, others for research and ecological education, some for strengthening the local community and creating a pleasant meeting place, others create an employment model for at-risk populations the list grows year by year. There are organizations in Israel that support the establishment of public food forests, such as the JNF, Yad Hanadiv (The Rothschild Foundation), the Ministry of Agriculture and many local authorities, including large authorities from the 15th Independent Cities Forum, which commission the planning and construction of public food forests, and sometimes subsidize community permaculture training courses for their residents who will, in turn, manage the food forest for years to come.

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