The food forest is an exciting addition to the evolution of the Gibbs Farm that will demonstrate how a forest can be designed to mimic beneficial relationships that are found in nature. In contrast to the intensive crop systems of annual plants we see at many farms, a food forest is largely self-sustaining by incorporating perennial plants and trees that require little maintenance, other than to harvest what is produced. Instead of a garden that needs to be planted every year, imagine a multi-storied productive forest of fruits, nuts, berries, flowers, and other perennial herbs and greens that are naturally pollinated, control pests with beneficial insects, and reproduce abundantly every year. Our recently planted seven-layer food forest includes tall nut trees such as walnut, hickory, and oak trees. Shorter trees make up an orchard of fruit trees that includes apples, pears, plums, and apricots that will all thrive in the semi-shaded understory. When more fully developed, our shrubs and bushes of hazelnut, blueberry, and raspberry will fill out the edge spaces, and herbaceous plants like horseradish and rhubarb will live alongside and underneath the trees and shrubs. A lush groundcover of strawberries, purslane, potatoes, mints, and comfrey will keep weeds to a minimum while also producing root crops and fertilizing the soil. Finally, the grape vines, hops, and kiwis will develop and climb the trees and provide even more delicious food crops for us to eat.
Food Forest Understory Layer
Food Forest Shrub Layer