The Forested Garden: What is a Food Forest?
Forests are ecosystems with a diversity of plants, animals, and fungi. They were designed by nature to have perfect balance. A food forest is a version of this in which the different, balanced components produce food. When we understand how nature creates its ecosystem, we can model that with productive species to produce food sustainably, with minimum inputs for maximum outputs.
Forests have layers. At the top is the (1) canopy layer followed by (2) understory trees, (3) bushes and shrubs, and down to (4) herbaceous layers. Under the ground, there are (5) root yields, and at the surface, there are (6) groundcovers. There are also vertical layers of (7) climbers. These layers work to occupy all the space. In designing a food forest, we use those layers to work for our benefit.