Play- & Food Forest
A food forest not only produces organic food, but also ensures biodiversity and good water management. It has been looked at how it happens naturally and this is applied in the food forest. With the permaculture basic principles. In a food forest there are several layers divided in height. lower trees, shrubs, herbs, ground covers, underground crops and creepers
What is the definition of a food forest?
Definition Food forest
For the Netherlands, food forests are a relatively new phenomenon that requires further definition; the typology developed by the University of Missouri for various forms of agroforestry lends itself to this in particular. Agroforestry is itself a broad category of land use systems in which perennial woody crops (trees and shrubs) are deliberately combined with (annual) agricultural crops and/or animals, in space or time, or in both. The following are distinguished on the basis of their spatial structure:
A. row cropping (alley cropping); rows of trees in a field;
B. forest meadows (silvopasture); grazing livestock on land that also has trees;
C. riparian zones; linear plantings along terraces and waterways;
D. food forests; highly diverse ecosystems with the layered structure and diverse functions of a natural forest.
A specific ecosystem is qualified as a food forest on the basis of the following characteristics:
- a productive ecosystem designed by humans, modeled on a natural forest, with a high diversity of perennial and/or woody species, parts of which (fruits, seeds, leaves, stems, etc.) serve as food for humans;
- presence of a crown layer of higher trees;
- presence of at least 3 of the other niches or vegetation layers of resp. lower trees, shrubs, herbs, ground covers, underground crops and creepers;
- presence of a rich forest floor life;
- a robust size, i.e. an area of at least 0.5 hectares in an ecologically rich environment; in a severely depleted environment a minimum area of up to 20 hectares is required.
Food forest layout
The food forest is divided in such a way that the sun position, water level, temperature, soil type, native species and cooperation between flora and fauna are taken into account. There are meandering picking paths with ladders at the higher trees. There are animals such as chickens, geese, ducks and pigs. They provide fertilization, keeping the soil airy and ‘clean’, recreation, relaxation and food. We have picking days and workshops. We share knowledge on the internet and with the local population.
The Play Forest
AyA’s Play Forest is for all ages. It’s in the middle of the food forest. The Play Forest has playground equipment, animals, a cable car, obstacle parkour, maze, archery, survival training, wood carving, fire making, art, but also events such as the elderly reading to children and sharing their experience, making music and cooking together.