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, 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.

Following on from the Pecha Kucha talk I received a lovely enquiry from a Postgraduate student in Publishing, volunteering to "turn Andy's manual into an eBook / downloadable pdf / app. The idea being to make the content easy to share, easy to find and beautiful".

So the week pretty much covered the spectrum of possibilities, from community to commercial, from private to volunteer. People are seeing wisdom and sense of starting now - to grow food in systems designed to mimic resilient forest eco systems and produce an abundance of food, with modest human input and negligible reliance on fossil fuel.

The last time I felt a wave of change like this, was in the early months of supporting the growth of Transition Towns Aotearoa. Bring it on!


This was first offered as a blog post on