On a recent trip to Canada, I saw paths filled with herbs and berries and parks planted with fruit trees and vegetables. There were plenty of garden pods that could be used.
After filling my bowl of muesli with fresh berries picked from the park each morning, it made me wonder what I was doing back home to future-proof my rising cost of living.
Surprised to find out that not all is pessimistic.
Growth of NZ Food Forest
As you scan the surface of your community, you’ll be amazed at how food forests are popping up everywhere.
Between Hanmer Springs and Timaru alone, there are 27 Food Forests in institutions of varying degrees, including communities, schools and kindergartens.
A food forest is a way to grow food and other plants (such as medicines and fiber) for human use in a way that mimics a natural forest.
That is, it is established using a layered permaculture companion planting system.
This ecological balance makes these forests rich.
The great thing about Food Forests is that while they rely on dedicated volunteers to set up and maintain, the food supplied by these forests is for everyone.
Brent Cairns, who started Kaiapoi Food Forest on reclaimed land after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that rocked Kaiapoi, said:
We are all eaters, but not all of us are producers. ”
Changing this paradigm and encouraging others to participate has been so successful that we are in the process of developing a food forest design course at Rangiora.
“It’s amazing how many people come looking for food every night,” says Brent.
“Picking fresh apples and peaches, and grabbing berries for pudding is a highlight of our local food forest.”
Food Forest is sustainable, nourishing to improve quality of life and enhance physical and mental health.
“Community food forests provide an abundance of food for residents and those who want to come and gather, including fruits, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants,” says Brent.
Fighting Rising Costs of Living
With fruit and vegetable prices skyrocketing, alternative ways to source food must become a community priority.
As food demand increases and food availability decreases, food forests, foraging, community gardens and home cultivation must become an integral part of livelihoods.
Satisfy Food Rescue Manager Stef Van Meer said:
“The feedback we are getting from the about 40 food banks, community organizations and schools we support is that more working families are in need – people who weren’t struggling as much before. ”
“The cost of everything is going up, and it’s hard to hear that families are still struggling to put food on the table, even though their parents are working.
With this in mind, it’s good to see so many communities and schools joining in to set up food forests that are open to everyone.
“The beauty of having such a great space,” says Brent. “So you can hold a workshop to inspire people who have no prior knowledge of planting?”
Imagine wandering through a lush forest where nearly every plant is edible and every plant serves a purpose. ”
In September 2017, more than 200 volunteers and families visited and planted more than 300 trees, fruits and plants when Kaiapoi Food Forest held its first tree planting day.
Since then, more than 4,500 trees and plants have been donated.
It takes a long time for forests to form, but Brent said, “The best time to plant fruit trees was many years ago, and today is still a good day.”
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For more information:
Visit the Kaiapoi Food Forest website click here
https://dailyencourager.co.nz/future-proofing-new-zealand/ New Zealand looking to the future – Daily Encourager