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Why all the fuss about food [forests]

Why are people getting excited about food forests?

Our presently dominant method of growing food through industrial agriculture is destructive to soil, water, air and people¹. Growing food using large amounts of fossil fuel energy and a system of annual cropping on turned soil, is not resilient in the face of increasing extremes of drought and flood.

I could write screeds of information to back this up, and reduce you to tears of despair and frustration to prove the point, but thankfully I don't have to. More and more people are trusting their deeply felt intuition, without the need for masses of data, that our current model is simply not sustainable (not able to be sustained).

The good news though, is that if we can transition quickly (10-20 years), to more of a forest-like food production model based on perennial plants, we can re-build a resilient food supply. In addition, as we regenerate the soil and clean up the water supply, we will be capturing large volumes of carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the humus².

Over time, this could have a significant positive impact on the climate - given that our industrial food system is currently contributing approximately 25% of the annual carbon - more than transport.

Then there are the social benefits that localised food supplies can bring. As people become involved, in the production and harvesting and processing of local food, the social fabric gets stronger and people become healthier.

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VIDEO: The Power of Just Doing Stuff

localising food tour

Dear friend

 

Aro Valley and Island Bay communities are hosting the Localising Food Tour in June 2013 and invite you to join us for one or more of these inspiring events.

 

Come along to find out about some great local projects and turbo-boost your gardening skills alongside other interested people from your community. Be part of the next phase of localising food in Aro Valley and Island Bay.

 

Programme

Aro Valley

Fri 14th June, 6 - 9.30pm

Politics of Food Security

Inspiring Local Food Resilience

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Our Green Roadie - documentary about 50 New Zealanders

Here's a great film, about 50 New Zealanders doing great things to build a better world. The story behind the film is a simple but beautiful one, and an inspiration in itself.

Check out the Trailer www.vimeo.com/55198564 Film Trailer,

and read more on www.facebook.com/OurGreenRoadie DVD SHOP

Our Green Roadie is a documentary about 50 New Zealanders sharing their stories about living and working in eco-conscious and economically viable ways. We filmed everyday people from Northland to Southland; individual households to multi-million dollar businesses who have made the choices to be on a ‘greener’ journey. They’re all different, full of heart, encouraging and inspirational.

Our Motivation for wanting to do nationwide screenings:

1/ We believe this is a film every New Zealander should have the opportunity to see. It inspires and encourages change in a way that everyday people appreciate. We think ‘green’ people are good at talking to each other but not really connecting with everyday people.

We want to help change that and dispel myths and engage the public.

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Are Food Forests mainstreaming

Last year I was teaching social media to a group of Graduate students at The Centre for Sustainable Practice, one of the Otago Polytechnic schools, based in Wanaka. That's where I met Andy Cambeis, who's major project was to establish a food forest on public land in Hawea Flat. What I didn't realise until the end of the year, was that he was documenting the process in a way that others could benefit from.

When I read the first draft of his "Manual for creating a Food Forest on Public Land" I was delighted and excited. Here was a paint-by-numbers process, written in a beautifully summary form, with links to every detail one could possibly want, and all very relevant to the New Zealand situation. I knew this was my project for 2013 - to establish the first public access Waiheke Food Forest.

But what's been happening in the last few weeks has been quite astounding... beginning two weeks ago, as I prepared for presenting our Waiheke Food Forest project to the Waiheke Local Board, I learnt of three new Food Forest projects across Aotearoa, and this was a hint that there was some real movement in this space.

Four days later I received a persistant phone call – on the third ring I finally answered it, and I'm glad I did. A polite and well spoken man was wanting to know if I was using www.foodforest.co.nz, because if not he wanted it.

I was clear that I wasn't about to hand this over but suggested we meet. Over a coffee two days later, as we shared our stories, it was clear, we both saw Aotearoa abundant with forests of food. This proud Manawatu farmer shared his vision of 10 acre food forests, up and down the country, in those highly visible locations some farms are blessed with. We’ll be meeting up again soon – with time to flesh out some details and explore possibilities.

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Bill McKibben's "Do the Maths" Tour - live video feed

Location / Venue: 
Jack Mann Auditorium, College of Education, University of Cantebury
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Want to be Screening Our Green Roadie??

Location / Venue: 
any town or city in NZ

Are food forests mainstreaming

Two weeks ago, as I prepared for presenting our Waiheke Food Forest project to the Local Board, I learnt of three new Food Forest projects.

Four days later I received a persistant phone call - on the third ring I finally answered it, and glad I did. A well polite and well spoken man was wanting to know if I was using www.foodforest.co.nz, because if not he wanted it. I suggested we meet, and over a coffee two days later, we shared our stories. It was clear, we both saw Aotearoa abundant with forests of food. This proud Manawatu farmer shared his vision of 10 acre food forests, up and down the country, in those highly visible locations some farms are blessed with. We'll be meeting up again soon - with time to flesh out some details and explore possibilities.

On Friday it was off to spend time with the CSP community at Awhi Farm in Turangi, and the neighbouring Marae of the Tuwharetoa.The number of times the term Food Forest was mentioned or the subject of a conversation, was astounding and a delight!

Just yesterday morning, I enjoyed a lovely Facebook chat with a woman who's energy and commitment to building a better world is truly formidable. It concluded with an invitation to help them create two new food forests on private land - one large, one small.

Last night, I gave a Pecha Kucha talk on Food Forests, organised by the lovely Jane Zimmermann and Luka Hinse. It's a great format - 20 slides and 20 seconds each - so you get to tell your message in under 7 minutes, then stand aside and let the next person inspire and inform you. A mid break allows for lots of conversation, and everyone goes home with some new ideas.

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