Wendy Nadherny Fachon speaks with Green Teacher host, Ian Shanahan, about Food Forest Gardening. What is a food forest? How can teachers present an ecosystems approach to gardening for impactful learning? How might teachers integrate corporative learning opportunities enrich the process? Wendy has her own food forest garden, and she sees great potential for food forest gardening in environmental education. She also shares her insights about nature drawing as a powerful pedagogical tool and tells a story about a serendipitous discovery of Red Mulberry trees.
Nationally renowned Matthew “Twig” Largess founded his business, Largess Forestry, Inc., in 1986. His company is dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and education of the Earth’s forests while enhancing awareness and knowledge of the natural world. A Rhode Island native, Matt studied forestry at Paul Smith’s College, and spent his younger years as a logger, cutting down some of the biggest trees on the earth in the Pacific Northwest, before discovering his calling to become the “Voice of the Forest” and preserve and protect our magnificent trees. He is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist and a full time environmentalist.
While this episode focuses on tree conservation, it also connects to recent themes of community and food forest gardening. Forest preservation and restoration is the most natural solution to addressing the climate challenges. Trees cool the climate, filter out air pollution, prevent drying of soil, mitigate storm water run off, sequester carbon and so much more. As more individuals come to understand and appreciate trees, they can help their communities by advocating for and planting beneficial trees.
Guest Dani Baker is the author of The Home-Based Forest Garden and teaches forest gardening, a method of agriculture which “requires careful planning and a strong understanding of beneficial inter-species relationships.” Her “Enchanted Edible Forest” garden is located at Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River between New York and Canada. She and her partner, David Belding, grow certified organic produce and raise grass-fed beef and goats. Dani conducts workshops and tours in her edible forest garden as well as giving presentations at organic farming conferences and other venues.
This episode continues the "food forest" theme we introduced in June. A food forest, or forest garden, incorporates multiple layers of plants (trees, bushes, ground cover, etc) to maximize natural resources (sun, shade, water, etc) and minimize the manual work (planting, weeding, watering, etc).
Guest Jim Gale is the Chief Storytellerand visionary behind Food Forest. At age 29, he established the goal of retiring in 3 years; he created a mortgage company that reached $1.3B in sales, achieving his goal. Upon retiring, Jim bought a boat, lived on the ocean for a year, and then moved to Costa Rica to build eco-villages. This is where he discovered permaculture. Food forest abundance is a is about sovereignty, entrepreneurship, mindset, freedom, and lots and lots of really delicious, nutritious food! Jim quotes Victor Hugo, “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.”
A food forest is a diverse, perennial garden that mimics a forest ecosystem. Through layers of horticultural design, life extends in all directions producing food, medicine, sanctuary, and habitat. A well-designed permaculture food forest incorporates seven layers of edible plants, including fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, rhizomes, mushrooms, and perennial vegetables. A food forest embraces the principles of permaculture, which is about working with natural ecosystems, rather than against them. It is thoughtfully planned "to produce maximum nutrition, beauty and abundance."
The Story Walking Radio Hour is an Environmental Education program airing on syndicated Dreamvisions 7 Radio Network (D7RN), every Monday at 9am and 9pm ET.
It is listed under the "Sustainable Living" tab of the network website. D7RN seeks more environmentally-focused hosts to help raise consciousness. Learn more at https://dreamvisions7radio.com/about-us/
If you would like to be a Guest or Sponsor with the Story Walking Radio Hour, call of text Wendy at 401 529-6830.
Wendy is the author of The Difference Maker and The Angel Heart. She is Rhode Island's regional editor for Green Teacher and writes articles for Natural Awakenings Magazine Boston edition and D7RN's Sustainable Living News. As an environmental educator, she currently develops and teaches Nature Drawing curriculum for The Empowerment Factory, based in Pawtucket, RI. She is also an Abundance Ambassador for Food Forest Abundance.