I believe that before we start planning and designing our homestead/food forest, it might be a really good idea to get clarity about our mission, vision and values.
This way, we'll make our dreams come true quicker and easier...
Before we started planning and designing our own food forest (that was 6 years ago) we asked ourselves these seven questions:
What are the values we want our food forest to embody?
What will be the overall theme or function of our food forest?
With the answers to these questions, we were a lot clearer about the mission, vision and values of our food forest, which helped us tremendously in making it happen quicker, easier, and closer to our ideal picture.
This is a never-ending process, and we keep asking ourselves the same questions once every year.
As we do that we notice how empowering this process is, how much it focuses us, and also we can see our progress much clearer.
I would like to offer this post as a space of inspiration for all of us, by inviting you to share your own answers to (some or all of) these questions.
So let me be the first to answer by sharing our own answers to these 7 questions, from the week after we purchased our land in Tenerife, about 6 years ago:
1. Our Food Forest Values Sustainability, biodiversity, abundance, Garden of Eden, connection to nature, co-creation with nature, role model for holistic, sustainable living, joy, harmony, beauty, silence, love, sensuality, health and wellness…
2. What Do We Want and Need from Our Food Forest
A place of beauty, tranquility, inspiration, energizing.
A place to connect to something bigger, older and wiser.
A meeting place between plants, animals & humans.
Providing 80% of our fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, herbs and honey – year round.
Throughout the year the land will be covered with the flowers and flowering trees and bushes for honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
I really appreciated this & your other recent post (what's your why). I spend some time working through these questions for my six acres in northern Wisconsin, near the shore of Lake Superior. The land is mostly wooded and high above the water table. I put in a small garden last year (three small beds) with plans to expand. My little flock of hens has already produced more than 24 dozen eggs in their first season. But we have been here for less than two years, so I am just getting started.
Stewardship, Generosity, Learning
What we want or need from the land:
Sanctuary, Nourishment, Healing
What does the landscape need:
Culling (problematic species, overcrowding)
Soil building (soil is rocky & sandy)
Water (rain barrels? pond? groundcover/mulch to reduce evap?)
How should the end result feel:
Cohesive and flowing (replace abrupt and jarring changes from woods/clearings/drive to more gradual transitions; create meandering but functional pathways; systems work together)
Peaceful and playful, beautiful (not just a working landscape; not overly tidy, a bit wild)
What will we do here:
Rest, play, learn, take care of each other.
More practically - raise food and medicine, harvest firewood, run a household.
What kind of produce we’d like to have:
Our local native foods - blueberries, grapes, wild plums, sunchokes, hazelnuts, strawberries (if we can expand by acquiring the adjacent low land with creek, wild rice)
Our traditional crops - corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, greens, etc
Wild medicines (some are present in the woods, some must be added to garden)
Maple syrup (sugar maples in the yard are productive, but need to identify large red maples in the surrounding woods & make trails, acquire sled for hauling sap)
Chicken eggs for now - would be nice to add dairy, honey bees (can get meat from neighbors)
Living in relationship with the land
p.s. I hadn't considered cultivating mushrooms, but now I will look into it.
growing food and medicine, keeping chickens, heating with wood, learning the land
follow my plant obsession on instagram @mywildwisconsin