10 Edible Forest Gardens for Permaculture Practices | askBAMLand

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Ever dreamed of a garden that grows itself?

Imagine stepping into your backyard, not to toil in the soil, but to harvest a basketful of fresh fruits, nuts, and herbs.

This isn't a fantasy; it's the foundation of an edible forest garden, a living larder at your doorstep.

Edible forest gardens are a core aspect of permaculture, embodying sustainable, self-maintaining ecosystems designed to imitate nature's balance.

Creating such a space nurtures biodiversity, supports local wildlife, and provides nourishment while respecting the planet.

Curious about where to begin or what a mature food forest looks like?

You're not alone.

Many turn to permaculture as a guide for creating diverse, resilient land use systems that build soil health, conserve water, and reduce the need for outside inputs.

Trust us, we've seen gardens transformed into veritable Edens bursting with life, and we're excited to share these living examples with you.

With successful forest gardens thriving from the busy streets of Seattle to the sun-soaked terrain of California, each has a tale to tell and wisdom to impart.

These edible ecological wonders are not only testaments to the viability of integrated, permaculture approaches but also sources of inspiration for gardeners worldwide.

Key Takeaways

  • Edible forest gardens optimize sustainability by mimicking natural ecosystems.
  • Permaculture principles can turn any garden into a self-sustaining food source.
  • Real-world examples offer valuable insights into successful forest gardening.

Table of Contents

Beacon Food Forest (Seattle, Washington)

Have you ever wandered through a forest and imagined picking a fresh apple straight from the tree?

Well, at Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, Washington, this dream becomes a reality.

Picture yourself walking among diverse fruit trees, nut trees, and berry bushes—all there for community use.

  • Founded: 2009
  • Size: 7-acre land; 1.75 acres available for community use

What makes this place unique?

It's not just a park; it's a living, breathing classroom.

It utilizes permaculture design principles, which is a fancy way of saying it mimics natural ecosystems to create a sustainable way to grow food.

And the best part—you're encouraged to join in and learn through hands-on experience!

  • Learning Opportunities: Permaculture design courses, volunteer opportunities
  • Community Support: Managed by Food Forest Collective with help from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Ever thought about the practicalities of running such a place?

Well, Beacon Food Forest has it all figured out.

Part of the site is on a water reservoir, ensuring that the plants are well-hydrated.

They've even translated their signs, making sure all visitors can navigate this edible landscape.

So, next time you're in Seattle, why not take a little detour to this food haven?

It's just two miles from downtown—perfect for an eco-friendly pitstop to refuel your spirit (and maybe your stomach too)!

Remember, places like this thrive on community interaction, so don’t be shy; your involvement helps keep the forest flourishing.

Ashevillage Sanctuary (Asheville, North Carolina)

Have you heard about Ashevillage Sanctuary?

Nestled just a few blocks from bustling downtown Asheville, NC, this one-acre eco-urban delight is a permaculture enthusiast's dream.

You can stroll through an edible forest garden brimming with perennial goodies—think juicy fruits, hearty nuts, and nutritious veggies that come back year after year.

Why does this matter to you?

Well, if you love the idea of sustainable living and community vibes, Ashevillage Sanctuary has got you covered!

Their 30,000-gallon rainwater catchment pond system isn't just impressive; it's a critical piece of their sustainability practices.

And they didn't stop there.

Between the aquaponic greenhouse (in progress), natural building projects, and their recycled courtyard equipped with a wood-fired oven, there’s always something new to learn and experience.

  • Edible Landscape: Enjoy a colorful array of plants that are as pretty as they are tasty.
  • Natural Building Projects: Discover structures made from eco-friendly materials.
  • Rainwater Collection: Marvel at their ability to catch and reuse rain, reducing their ecological footprint.

Think of it as a "living laboratory" where principles of permaculture come to life.

Whether it's plant identification, herbal medicine making, or getting hands-on with wild mushrooms, there's a wealth of knowledge to soak up.

Curious about woodland botanicals or Chinese herbs?

They've got that too.

Don't just take our word for it; this is a place where you can truly engage with nature and the community.

So why not plan a visit, roll up your sleeves, and get a little dirt under your nails?

Who knows, you might just leave with a green thumb and a heart full of inspiration!

Darren J. Doherty’s Regen10 (California)

Have you heard about Darren J.

Doherty's Regen10 in California?

It's where permaculture meets practicality and innovation flourishes!

Regen10 isn't just a plot of land; it's a testament to Doherty’s dedication to regenerative agriculture and how you can turn a traditional farm into an ecosystem that supports itself and the environment.

  • Location: California, USA
  • Founder: Darren J. Doherty
  • Focus: Edible Forest Gardens, Regenerative Agriculture
  • Principles: Farmer-centricity, Equity, Inclusion

In Regen10, every plant has a purpose, and the food forest is alive with a blend of fruits, nuts, herbs, and shrubs.

Imagine wandering through a lush landscape where trees form a canopy, providing a natural habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects.

Below, a diverse understory of edible and medicinal plants coexists.

Doherty's approach echoes the Regrarians Platform, ensuring that each element works harmoniously to regenerate the land.

Why does this matter to you?

Whether you’re a gardening aficionado, a sustainability enthusiast, or a food systems innovator, observing Regen10’s success offers valuable insights.

Here’s a snapshot:

  • Evidence-based: Techniques proven through research
  • Holistic Outcomes: Integrating environmental, economic, and social goals
  • Farmer-Centric: Empowering local producers

What makes Doherty’s Regen10 unique?

  1. Adaptation of Keyline Design: Optimizing water resources
  2. Integration of Livestock: Benefitting soil health and garden productivity
  3. Community Involvement: Engaging with local and global agricultural networks

When you think about edible forest gardens and permaculture practices, remembering the innovative strides made by projects like Regen10 is crucial.

They remind us that with thoughtful design and respect for nature, your slice of heaven on Earth is absolutely achievable.

The Dervaes Garden (Pasadena, California)

Ever wondered if your backyard could be more than just a lawn?

Meet the Dervaes family in Pasadena, California.

They've transformed just 1/10th of an acre into a wonderland of food production and sustainable living.

It's not simply gardening; it's a way of life and an example of permaculture at its finest.

In the heart of their edible forest garden, there's a symphony of over 400 plant species—yes, you read that right!

You're looking at a space that's not much bigger than a typical suburban lot.

Yet it's churning out thousands of pounds of fresh produce each year.

That's about 6,000 pounds of food to be exact.

Do you think your grocery garden could compete with that?

Here's what the Dervaes family is doing right:

  • They focus on bio-intensive, regenerative practices to enrich the soil.
  • They believe in the power of small-scale urban agriculture to sustain a family.
  • Their garden is cleverly designed to yield an impressive harvest, which includes fruit, herbs, veggies, and edible flowers.

What's the takeaway for you?

Your garden has potential—loads of it!

Whether it's a snug corner or a sprawling lawn, think of the Dervaes and their mini farm.

Considering their remarkable ability to produce and even sell their bounty, your garden could be the next big (or should we say, compact and productive) thing in permaculture practice.

Ready to start planting?

The Bullock Brothers Homestead (Orcas Island, Washington)

Have you ever dreamed of walking through an edible forest?

At the Bullock Brothers Homestead on Orcas Island, your dream can be a lush reality.

Imagine being surrounded by a rich tapestry of fruit trees, berries, and perennial veggies—this is what permaculture is all about!

Here are some quick facts to get you even more excited:

  • Location: Orcas Island, Washington
  • Established: Over 34 years of permaculture practice
  • Features: Edible forest garden and educational center

The Homestead isn’t just a food-producing paradise; it’s a living classroom where permaculture principles spring to life.

You can literally see sustainability in action and learn how to integrate these practices into your own garden.

  • Learning Opportunities: You can learn about water systems, energy systems, and how to harmonize with the local ecosystem.

Want to know what you’ll find?

You'll be greeted by a diverse array of plant species.

For instance:

  • Fruit Trees: Apples to peaches, you’ll find them here!
  • Berries: From raspberries to currants, they’re as sweet as they sound.
  • Vegetables: Perennial staples that come back year after year.

If the thought of fresh, juicy fruit off the branch doesn’t delight you, I don’t know what will!

And to top it off, you’ll be surrounded by a community that values shared experience and collective growth—both for plants and people alike.

So, have you put Orcas Island on your visit-list yet?

If you’re passionate about sustainability and delicious, eco-friendly food, the Bullock Brothers Homestead is a place that should not be missed!

Montview Neighborhood Farm (Northampton, Massachusetts)

Have you ever stumbled upon a little green oasis where fruits dangle from the branches and herbs fill the air with their perfume?

Well, welcome to Montview Neighborhood Farm!

Nestled on 3.2 acres of conservation land in the heart of Northampton, Massachusetts, this community gem is more than just a farm—it's a thriving edible forest garden!

So, what can you find at Montview?

Picture yourself wandering through paths lined with:

  • Fruit trees: Apples, pears, and peaches, oh my!
  • Nut trees: Crunchy almonds and walnuts, ready for the picking.
  • Berry bushes: Juicy blueberries and raspberries await.
  • Medicinal herbs: Your very own natural pharmacy.

And guess what?

It's all grown with tender love and care, using sustainable permaculture practices.

That means not only is this spot kind to your taste buds—it's also a big high-five to Mother Earth.

Fun Fact: It's a neighborhood farm and educational site!

Montview encourages community participation, so you're not just visiting; you're becoming part of a local food movement.

Now, don't just take our word for it.

Get involved!

Join them for one of their community events or volunteer days.

It's the chance to get your hands dirty, learn about urban agriculture, and, most importantly, savor the freshest produce around.

Remember, you're not simply visitors; you're part of the Montview story.

So, whether you're a local or just passing through, swing by and see how a neighborhood pulls together to create a patch of edible paradise!

Tenth Acre Farm (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Have you ever imagined stepping into your backyard and wandering through a miniature forest filled not just with trees and bushes, but laden with fruit, nuts, and all sorts of edible delights?

At Tenth Acre Farm in Cincinnati, Ohio, Amy Stross has turned that fantasy into reality.

Here, permaculture isn't just a buzzword—it's the heart of the garden.

Every inch of space works hard to create a thriving ecosystem.

Want to see permaculture in action?

Tenth Acre Farm is more than just a plot of land; it's a hub for learning and inspiration.

  • What can you find there? A mosaic of fruit trees, berry shrubs, and plenty of plants you might never have heard of—each with a role to play in a complex ecological dance.
  • What's the big deal? It’s about community and education. Fancy a workshop? They've got those. Need resources? Amy’s your go-to for suburban gardening wisdom.

Did I mention she's written a book, The Suburban Micro-Farm?

It's chock-full of her adventures in turning a lawn into a bountiful and serene garden.

You’re probably wondering, "How does it all work?" Well, imagine this: tall nut trees casting shade on the northern edge, and on the sunnier side, fruit trees happily soaking up the rays.

It's a layout that makes sense and makes use.

So, why should you care about a farm in Cincinnati?

Because it demonstrates that a sustainable, edible oasis is possible right in your suburban backyard.

It's low maintenance, and it's ecologically friendly.

Plus, you can't beat the freshness of food from your own land.

Want to give it a try?

There are no cookie-cutter gardens here—each design, like your garden dreams, is unique.

Wildside Farm (Kentucky)

Have you ever strolled through a forest and thought, "I could just snack on everything around me"?

Well, at Wildside Farm in Kentucky, this fantasy isn't too far from the truth.

Imagine wandering through groves of fruit trees, each branch bending under the weight of ripe, juicy treasures.

And it's not just about apple pies and berry jams—this edible forest garden is a buffet that also strengthens the ecosystem.

So, what's on the menu?

Fruit trees are the main course here, with a side of luscious berries that are as tasty as they are healthy.

But Wildside Farm's recipe for success doesn't end there.

Lining the pathways, you'll find medicinal plants that locals swear by—not just for their healing properties but for their contribution to the farm's biodiversity.

Here's the secret sauce: sustainability and regeneration.

This isn't your average 'plant and forget' setup.

The folks at Wildside work with Mother Nature, using permaculture principles to cultivate a self-sustaining edible wonderland.

This means they focus on practices that not only take from the land but give back to it, ensuring that the soil stays as rich and productive as a chocolate cake.

  • Fruit Trees: Apples, pears, plums
  • Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
  • Medicinal Plants: Echinacea, yarrow, mint

What's truly impressive is how all these elements come together to create an ecosystem that's resilient against pests and diseases.

It's like a natural fortress that stands tall against climate woes, all while providing a feast for the eyes and the belly.

So if you're craving a taste of sustainable living, Wildside Farm is a place where you can pick your treats right off the branches.

Isn't it time you treated yourself to nature's bounty without the guilt?

Grab a basket, head to Kentucky, and let's go wild in the most delicious way possible!

Melliodora (Hepburn Springs, Australia)

Have you ever wondered how a permaculture paradise looks?

Meet Melliodora, a haven nestled in Hepburn Springs of Central Victoria.

This 2.25-acre edible forest garden is more than just greenery; it's a well-oiled ecosystem crafted by David Holmgren, co-originator of permaculture himself!

At this pioneering site, every inch serves a purpose.

Amidst the robust collection of mixed food gardens and orchards, plentiful life thrives.

Picture yourself wandering through:

  • Fruit trees heavy with pears and apples
  • Vibrant veggie patches, buzzing with biodiversity
  • Chicken coops and beehives that are not just sustainable but also productive

Why does this matter to you?

Melliodora isn't just any demonstration garden.

It's a living blueprint for creating multifunctional landscapes that work with nature, not against it.

It illustrates how clever design can foster resilience and abundance, even on a modest stretch of land.

What's more, Melliodora doesn't hide its light under a bushel.

It's documented like no other, providing a wealth of inspiration.

Imagine the insights to be garnered from such a rich source!

  • Area: 8700m²
  • Location: The edge of Hepburn Springs, Australia
  • Highlights: Passive solar house design, exemplary use of water with dams and creek revegetation

Whether you're a green thumb or simply green with envy for all things eco-friendly, this slice of permaculture heaven invites you to explore and emulate.

Isn’t that amazing?

If your green space feels like it's missing that zest, perhaps a sprinkle of Melliodora's wisdom is all the inspiration you need to transform it!

The Plant (Chicago, Illinois)

Have you heard about The Plant in Chicago, Illinois?

It's a buzzing hub where food meets sustainability, showcasing how an urban landscape can thrive with vibrant greenery.

At The Plant, there's no such thing as waste.

Every bit of this place is designed to tickle your taste buds and inspire your green thumb—right in the heart of the city!

Imagine wandering through a lush edible forest garden, right where old industrial buildings once stood.

Picture yourself plucking ripe fruits straight off the branch, or collecting fresh nuts and herbs that you probably pay a premium for at your local market.

The Plant isn't just growing food; it's sowing the seeds of change for urban food production.

The collection of produce isn't something you'd find at a typical garden.

It's robust—think beyond basic veggies!

You'll find:

  • A variety of fruits that could make any fruit bowl envious.
  • Nuts that could supply the squirrel population of Chicago (hypothetically, of course).
  • Herbs that are as aromatic as they are medicinal.

What makes The Plant truly stand out is its ability to integrate with its urban surroundings.

It's not just about the green space; it's about how this space breathes life into its concrete confines.

It champions permaculture practices that are as sustainable as they are innovative, proving that cities can be the modern oases we've been dreaming of.

Just take a second to think about its impact.

Not only does it provide fresh produce, but it also teaches us how our urban spaces can be transformed into self-sustaining, food-producing havens.

And with every visit, you're participating in a food revolution that's as lucrative for Mother Nature as it is for our communities.

Isn't this the kind of growth we want to see more of?


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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