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Perennial and Forest Based Diet

 
Chris Lumpkin
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This is a question I like to ask of any ethical person, and it is often a thorny one. Ethical people care how their choices impact the people around them, and future generations, but many ethical people believe Boca burgers and soy milk are ethical. I have read many of your posts and articles, watched videos of you speaking, and I look forward to reading your book. I think I have a pretty good grasp of your principles when it comes to the human diet.

That being said, I am not asking you what you *believe* we should eat, but what do you *actually* eat on a typical day in your life, perennials versus annuals, meat, veggies, nuts? What kinds of compromises do you find yourself making, and how do you think your diet has progressed as you learn more?

What do you eat when your family sits down to a nice dinner?

What do you eat when you're in a hurry and running out to work your farm?

What do you eat when you are in a big city speaking at a conference?

What do your kids like and dislike most, and how do you handle the different palates at your table?

How are nuts represented in your diet, given your push for perennial staple foods? Do you cook with nut oils, nut flours?

Thanks for the work you're doing, I am inspired by your vision!

-Chris
 
Mark Shepard
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Q: This is a question I like to ask of any ethical person, and it is often a thorny one. Ethical people care how their choices impact the people around them, and future generations, but many ethical people believe Boca burgers and soy milk are ethical.

Mark: first of all Chris let's stay away from the tar-baby of what you or I think is ethical here... Your ethics may be different than mine... The ones that I like to emphasize, though, are the Permaculture BIG 3: Earth Care, People Care, Equitable exchange. Personally, I don't think that wiping out a perennial ecosystem in order to grow organic soybeans is Earth Care.


Yesterday 8:03:39 AM CST Subject: Mark - what do you eat?
This is a question I like to ask of any ethical person, and it is often a thorny one. Ethical people care how their choices impact the people around them, and future generations, but many ethical people believe Boca burgers and soy milk are ethical. I have read many of your posts and articles, watched videos of you speaking, and I look forward to reading your book. I think I have a pretty good grasp of your principles when it comes to the human diet.

Q: That being said, I am not asking you what you *believe* we should eat, but what do you *actually* eat on a typical day in your life, perennials versus annuals, meat, veggies, nuts? What kinds of compromises do you find yourself making, and how do you think your diet has progressed as you learn more?

Mark: I eat mostly meat and vegetables, eggs, then nuts & fruit. No grains. No legumes. Pasta only occasionally. Hardly any dairy. Very little sweetenrs. a gallon of Maple syrup lasts our family of 4 all year. We only use tiny amounts of honey in tea every once in awhile. I make lots of hard apple cyder, vinegar, mead, nut-based beer....
Compromises? Why would I need to compromise? Macrobiotic folks and Vegans are able to stick to a diet of their choice, shouldn't I be able to do so as well?

Q: What do you eat when your family sits down to a nice dinner?

Mark: OY!... We eat INCREDIBLY well! We love to cook, and the ingredients are awesome! A plate might be 1/4 protein and the 3/4 vegetables. A dollop (or more ) of lacto fermented veggies.
We make lots of stock from bones, so we have lots of AWESOME sauces. Home rendered lard is our cooking oil and rememebr, because our animals are grass-fed their fat is radically different than the corn fed stuff you see in a store... The lard is runny (only partially saturated fat) and the Omega 3- Omega 6 ratio is more similar to fish oil than lard. Vegetables are home-grown from April to November then we support our neighbors who grow produce in hoops, we eat a lot more stored cabbage and kraut.


A: What do you eat when you're in a hurry and running out to work your farm?

Mark: First of all I do my best not to hurry... This is a perennial system. Theres not the crazy push to get work done on it like there is with annuals... Since reducing the acres of annuals grown my workload (especially weather forced HURRY!) has gone down dramatically.
I'm not a big lunch eater. This is when I'll nibble on nuts. Hazelnuts, of course, are my go-to "quickie".


Q: What do you eat when you are in a big city speaking at a conference?

Mark: Mostly big salads with a portion of meat on top, no cheese, no croutons...

Q: What do your kids like and dislike most, and how do you handle the different palates at your table?

Well, I know it may sound hard to believe, but our kids eat everything they're served... Probably the "stir-fry du-jour" or "mexican mess" is their go-to favorites.
At the table we eat what is served. Sometimes the boys sheepishly ask if we'll buy them some bread. (since we don't eat grains we don't bother to make bread) We'll go ahead and buy a loaf, but they rarely finish it before it molds. When you grow up not eating that stuff, it's not a part of your habit so you just don't eat it.

Q: How are nuts represented in your diet, given your push for perennial staple foods? Do you cook with nut oils, nut flours?

Mark: Nuts are croutons, crumbles, confections, meal, flour. Oils will be coming soon... I' don't have an oil press yet. As I already mentioned, nuts are my "nibble snacks" and as a 6ft tall 230lb guy you can probably assume that I nibble on occasion!

The biggest way that we ingest nuts is via pork. Our family of 4 will eat 2 entire hazelnut and chestnut finished pigs per year. That's in addition to 1/2 a grassfed steer. Any dessert thing that we might make (apple crisp, hazelnut torte etc, pies) use nut crusts. Maple syrup or honey for sweetener.



 
Julia Winter
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mmmmmmmmm, hazelnuts!

I want to grow some, any particular type that is best?

Your diet sounds very healthy--I bet you could make a fine pie for Paul, with a nut crust. I've made some very nice crackers from nuts and seeds, bound with egg.
 
laura sharpe
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oh they tried to slip hazel nuts into my coffee way too many times. I never did much care for them , really the only nut I dont. But pigs love them and i love eating pig so I get along with them.

How long did it take the nut trees to produce?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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This answer more or less some of my questions (in a topic you answered that got lost)

I love that your diet matches your production.

With this diet, how many persons could feed on your 100 acres?
What would you have in excess and what would you be short in?

You eat veggies: % of them that are annuals / perennials?
% that grow under trees in the forest system?
What surface do you have to keep tree-free for some sun-loving vegetables?


 
Cj Sloane
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Could you give a ball park figure of:
How many pounds of hazelnut it would take to finish a pig?
Average yield of an average hazelnut tree?

Also, what do you feed your pigs prior to finishing?
Do you buy hog feed?
What, if any, breed do you prefer?

Mark Shepard wrote:
The biggest way that we ingest nuts is via pork. Our family of 4 will eat 2 entire hazelnut and chestnut finished pigs per year.
 
Mark Shepard
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Xisca.... for the mathematical experiment on how many people can we feed in our system you'll have to refer to Restoration Agriculture: http://www.forestag.com/book.html From calcultaions done by the University of IL, they've calculated that our system can produce over twice the human calories per acre than conventional corn. The nutrition per acre isn't even in the same discussion... A Restoration Agricutlure farm is only deficcient in Salt and Selenium... No wonder we crave salt.

The question about tree cover and open ground requires explanation also available in Restoration Ag. ( http://www.forestag.com/book.html) .. We are NOT growing a closed-canopy "food forest" there is actually WAY more total photosynthesis occurring in an open-canopy lightly wooded grassland (a savanna) than in a forest. SO.... actually 100% of our 100 acres is "open" and able to produce sun-loving vegetables and especially grasses in our case.

There is also ample shade. Enough to grow currants, gooseberries and enough shiiatake mushrooms to throw off your digestion for a month!

Probably 50% of our veggies are perennials: asparagus, dandylions, clover, lambsquarter, nettles, violets, purslane, basswood, birch.... The rest are annuals. What is amazing about annual veggies (and why they're heroically championed) is that you can grow a FARTLOAD! of nutrient dense annual veggies on a puny puny puny piece of ground... Most urban triple decker apartment back-yards can grow enough produce to provide enough vitamins and minerals to keep the residents alive. Annual veggies can be stuck in open "holes" in the canopy... sheet mulched here and there... allowed to re-seed etc... I planted arugula in our Kitchen garden in 1996. We harvested it until the hot weather sent it all to seed... I never planted arugula again in our "salad patch". It finally disappeared two years ago... Same thing with Cilantro... Things that we don't like all that much, like mustard greens, seem to be multiplying like crazy... We're no different than cattle... They'll overgraze their favorite forage until it's gone. The weeds will take over... We're FINALLY getting dandylions close to the house again.. for years we had overgrazed them....

Our diet matches what's available...
 
Erik Shepard
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Mark Shepard wrote:

Q: What do your kids like and dislike most, and how do you handle the different palates at your table?

Well, I know it may sound hard to believe, but our kids eat everything they're served... Probably the "stir-fry du-jour" or "mexican mess" is their go-to favorites.
At the table we eat what is served. Sometimes the boys sheepishly ask if we'll buy them some bread. (since we don't eat grains we don't bother to make bread) We'll go ahead and buy a loaf, but they rarely finish it before it molds. When you grow up not eating that stuff, it's not a part of your habit so you just don't eat it.




Being the kid, I think I can add a little to this. It is very true that my brother and I readily consume pretty much anything. I think that the statistic my dad gave of meals being 1/4 protein is usually the low end. Often we'll just have a sausage patty for breakfast, or just a beef burger or porkchops for dinner (Oh wait, did I mention it was grass-fed, hazelnut finished organic meat?). I think a better stat would be "anywhere from 25-75% protein".

The ONLY food dislikes:
The huge quantities of our market produce rejects (especially shittakes and asparagus) gave me and my brother an ... ... unappetizing relationship with these foods. Just imagine 3 meals a day of asparagus for the length of the season. Even the pigs stop eating it. Not kidding either! To this day, I am not overly fond of either of the above foods. I am working on it, and enjoy them far more than I used to, but still... you want a meal with ASPARAGUS?!? WHY? So, if you don't want your kids to dislike a certain food, do your best to not feed them extensive quantities of it!

 
Xisca Nicolas
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Ok and thanks all!

I see the difference between savanna and forest.
Savanna is much more interesting.

All designs I had seen show that trees occupy as much land as possible.
I have seen tall trees and smaller ones to fill the gaps.
So no light...

Asparagus are drought resistant here, I will grow them!
Erik, how could you be disgusted by something that is available so little time in the year! !
 
Julia Winter
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Erik, thanks so much for chiming in! Whoo boy, that's a lot of asparagus. I hope you and your family are among the 78% of people that don't detect the odor of methanethiol in urine after eating asparagus. I love it, even though I'm in that 22% that do.

I have yet to be successful enough in my asparagus cultivation to get sick of it--I still have to buy most of what we eat. I think my problem is weeds, but that makes me curious--how do you get asparagus established in a permaculture enterprise?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Do you have an idea of the amount of direct nuts you eat, let's say per year/harvest?
Though it is personal, I would like to get an idea up to how much one can eat.
I think it is possible to eat a lot more fat and proteins than usually assumed,
when sugar and starch are not part of the diet.

Thanks for all!
 
Cj Sloane
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Xisca Nicolas wrote: I think it is possible to eat a lot more fat and proteins than usually assumed,
when sugar and starch are not part of the diet.


Societies that eat/ate low carb, like the Inuit, had 85% of their diet as fats. You're not really supposed to go higher than 30% in protein anyway (or it gets converted to gloucose).

You can substitute nuts for flour or grain. I just made meatballs and instead of 2 slices of bread I used ground nuts instead.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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You sure it is not better to eat RAW nuts?

I think I eat two handful per day of almonds, but I think they are very rich on omega 6 and not in omega 3...
Dunno if it is the same with hazelnuts...
 
Cj Sloane
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Not sure about RAW nuts but... although almonds are good for you they aren't nuts.
 
S Bengi
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Cj Verde wrote:Not sure about RAW nuts but... although almonds are good for you they aren't nuts.


Dont know what your definition of a nut is, bu we use the word loosely. So if it grows on the tree from a flower and it is not soft and and the part we eat is not watery like a fruit, then we tend to call it a nut.
 
Cj Sloane
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Well, almonds are actually seeds. But getting back to your original question of how many nuts can you eat - I did discover some interesting things involving phytic acid which is apparently a bad thing.

So what’s the deal? Why do nuts get a pass, while grains and legumes get condemned?

First of all, grains and legumes are generally seen as dietary staples. They form the foundation of meals. People don’t have a “small handful” of refried pinto beans (and not just because that’s an incredibly messy way to eat them) or “one or two” grains of brown rice. They eat plates of this stuff, they rely on them for protein and calories, and sure enough, cultures whose diets are based on (improperly prepared) grains and legumes often suffer the symptoms of widespread mineral deficiencies, like nutritional rickets.

Nuts, on the other hand, are an adornment to a meal or a snack in between. A condiment. They are not meals themselves.

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nuts-and-phytic-acid/#ixzz2ITQSrbh7


So it is probably better to somewhat limit nut consumption and/or eat your nuts processed by pigs like Mark.
 
osker brown
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You may notice the fleeting reference in that article stating

"phytic acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the gastrointestinal tract, unless it’s reduced or nullified by soaking, sprouting, and/or fermentation."

We eat large quantities of acorns, black walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and hickories. All of these get processed in some manor such as "soaking, sprouting, and/or fermentation". You can definitely taste and feel the difference, raw nuts have a heavy feeling that seems to prevent overeating, whereas soaked and toasted walnuts and hazels I can and do eat all day. Acorns and chestnuts are a major starch source for us, and their phytic acid levels are markedly lower than fattier nuts.

peace

 
Mark Shepard
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Just a quick reply on the whole Nuts as staples thing.... Nuts do have phytic acid as do grains and legumes. Grains and legumes are in almost EVERYTHING... bread, pasta, processed foods, etc and therefore the phytic acid coming from them is WAY more than you'll get out of eating lots of nuts. On top of this, the grains and legumes have very few actual mineral nutrients, therefore the phytic acid laden "empty carbohydrates" that you eat have a more damaging effect on your health because they're not providing you with as many nutrients... To switch from grains to nuts will provide you with more minerals to leach which is a health benefit above and beyond the fact that the nuts are coming from perennial plants, etc...
I never bothered to pay much attention to how many actual nuts I eat until last week when all you Permies people asked me, so I've been paying more close attention... I eat somewhere around 2 full handfulls of nuts per day when I'm just nibbling at them... Because of their fat content and the high vegetable content of my "meals" nuts probably represent 20-30% of my caloric intake.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Erik Shepard wrote:Being the kid, I think I can add a little to this.


Thanks for your input Erik! It is great to have the son's perspective as well. I took note of not feeding my (still theoretical) kids too much asparagus and shittake


Oh wait, did I mention it was grass-fed, hazelnut finished organic meat?


What does hazelnut finished pig taste like? I have had organic grass-fed beef, but never nut finished pig.
 
Jay Hunter
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How are you feeding the hogs? Are you harvesting the nuts and feeding that stored feed or just finishing them on it and feeding grain during the grow out phase?
 
Mark Shepard
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We get the pigs when they're just weaned. When we first get them we only feed them enough to keep a 30lb "weaner" alive. We put rings in their noses so they don't root up the pasture, then we turn them loose to find their own food. They eat mostly grass, but they graze through a "Silvopasture" system that has mulberries, cherries, apples, oaks, hickories, hazelnuts and chestnuts. They go get their own food, and their season finishes with hazelnuts and chestnuts. Pigs are the ultimate "cleanup crew" making sure every last nut and berry gets eaten! An added benefit of having the pigs clean up is that they eat any insect larvae that might be in the fruit/nuts and they eat diseased stuff too, so they're part of the pest and disease control regime... All that we're attempting to do is imitate Nature as best we can...

 
Jay Hunter
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Thanks Mark. So how many feeders/acre are you running and how many pounds of supplemental feed do you feed to get them to finish?
 
Alex Brands
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Cj Verde wrote:Well, almonds are actually seeds.

Aren't all nuts seeds?
 
Cj Sloane
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Alex Brands wrote:
Aren't all nuts seeds?


Botanically, no.

wikipedia wrote: Some fruits and seeds that do not meet the botanical definition but are nuts in the culinary sense:

Almonds, Pecans, and Walnuts are the edible seeds of drupe fruits — the leathery "flesh" is removed at harvest.
Brazil nut is the seed from a capsule.
Candlenut (used for oil) is a seed.
Cashew is a seed.[4]
Chilean hazelnut or Gevuina
Horse-chestnut is an inedible capsule.
Macadamia is a creamy white kernel (Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla).
Malabar chestnut
Mongongo
Peanut is a seed and a legume of the family Fabaceae.
Pine nut is the seed of several species of pine (coniferous trees).
Pistachio is the seed of a thin-shelled drupe.
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
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Erik Shepard wrote:
Being the kid, I think I can add a little to this. It is very true that my brother and I readily consume pretty much anything. I think that the statistic my dad gave of meals being 1/4 protein is usually the low end. Often we'll just have a sausage patty for breakfast, or just a beef burger or porkchops for dinner (Oh wait, did I mention it was grass-fed, hazelnut finished organic meat?). I think a better stat would be "anywhere from 25-75% protein".

The ONLY food dislikes:
The huge quantities of our market produce rejects (especially shittakes and asparagus) gave me and my brother an ... ... unappetizing relationship with these foods. Just imagine 3 meals a day of asparagus for the length of the season. Even the pigs stop eating it. Not kidding either! To this day, I am not overly fond of either of the above foods. I am working on it, and enjoy them far more than I used to, but still... you want a meal with ASPARAGUS?!? WHY? So, if you don't want your kids to dislike a certain food, do your best to not feed them extensive quantities of it!



LOL, In my case it was asparagus and brussel sprouts! I can now, in my mid 30s contemplate planting asparagus though I know better than to have as much as my mother!
 
David Goodman
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"We are NOT growing a closed-canopy "food forest" there is actually WAY more total photosynthesis occurring in an open-canopy lightly wooded grassland (a savanna) than in a forest. SO.... actually 100% of our 100 acres is "open" and able to produce sun-loving vegetables and especially grasses in our case."

That's fascinating. I had assumed the food forest was absorbing more solar energy.

It makes sense, however, since there's a lot of "edge" in a savannah type system. I would just think it's harder to maintain than open grass or a closed canopy.

Thank you for the food for thought.
 
John Saltveit
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Mark Shepard wrote, "Probably 50% of our veggies are perennials: asparagus, dandylions, clover, lambsquarter, nettles, violets, purslane, basswood, birch.... "
What can you eat off a birch tree?
Thanks
John S
PDX OR
 
Adrien Lapointe
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You can use the sap to make syrup. Not sure how it could be used as veggie, but maybe the young shoots are good.
 
Mark Shepard
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In addition to birch syrup, the inner bark can be made into a flour (which we haven't done in a long time). My favorite is birch leaves as a salad green. They also make a nice tea!

 
Joshua Simon
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Hey Mark I meant to ask you this at the course. What types of groundcover are in your Forrest garden? Also how do you manage your wood lot?
 
Brenda Groth
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Well, I unfortunately haven't been able to do as well as I would have liked at this point in my gardens..as we have had a lot of setbacks including housefires, droughts, etc..

I have planted tons and tons of trees, shrubs,vines, etc..to try to establish perennial food forest gardens, but I've had a lot of rabbit and deer damages, fire damages, and droughts that have really given me some horrible set backs.

as for the nuts:

I have planted chestnut, oak, hickory, pecan, hazelnut, heartnuts, black walnuts, carpathian walnuts and butternuts, as well as Halls Hard Almond. The Chestnuts are tiny babies, the oak bear very well, the hickory may have died this year from the drought, the pecan died, the hazelnuts are bearing nicely, the heartnuts, and walnuts are all small but should bear in a year or two, and the Halls Hardy almond should have born this year but the drought last year nipped the bearing ends of the branches, which after pruning off the dead have all grown back..so probably next year if we get some rain soon.

I buy organic nuts whenever possible as I eat nuts every day..they are a main staple in my diet
s
Fruits, well that is another story here, I have attempted to grow every single kind of fruit that will grow on my property in my zone 4/5 Michigan garden..unfortunately I have had a lot of damage to my trees and have lost a lot of blossoms to early and late frosts as well as drought..but I have had 4 kinds of apples bear this year, grapes, currants, elderberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, plums, pears, medlar, and cherries. Many of the other fruit trees are too small to bear or have had above problems ..so I'm hoping for better next year. I also have put in baby apricots and a lot of new baby cherry and peach trees this year to replace some that have suffered badly.

As far as perennials that are edible, we have a lot of those too and we also forage for perennial plants in the forests and byways nearby. I eat a lot of asparagus and rhubarb, but we also have flowers that are edible in salads and other dishes..way too many to mention but I'll mention a few here..violets, dames rocket, daylily, roses, etc...and I have herbs and greens that have perennialzed here, esp the kale and swiss chard that come back from seed yearly.. (if you go to my blog there is a fairly good list of what I grow)

we also eat a lot of seeds ..

I'll admit I do buy a lot of food as I don't raise any animals or dairy here..so i buy eggs from a local farmer and buy organic meat from a market nearby..we generally eat poultry but do occasionally have some grass fed beef.
 
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Joshua Simon wrote:Hey Mark I meant to ask you this at the course. What types of groundcover are in your Forrest garden? Also how do you manage your wood lot?

This is an old thread, but other people may well be able to give you ideas
 
Joshua Simon
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Marks last response was on July 21st. You consider that old?
Ok thanks
 
David Miller
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Finished Mark's book, now I'm more overwhelmed with possibilities than ever. Brilliant!
 
Benjamin Hiatt
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I have a feeling people who have a Food Forest, and Perennial based diet eat a lot of salads. But I have a question, I guess you could say I have an "average" American diet, or a "conventional" diet where most of the plants in my diet are annuals, like potatoes and tomatoes, and I eat very few nuts. Suppose hypothetically, I went on a perrenial, and forest - based diet, would I be miserable and hate it until I got used to it? Or would there be way to integrate, or combine both eating styles, so I have the best of both culinary worlds?
 
Julia Winter
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I would say that whether you are miserable or not is up to you. Try the new foods and eat what appeals to you.

I do think it is true that people don't just eat what they like, they like what they eat. Meaning, we are very adaptable organisms and can get by and be happy on a variety of diets.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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On the other hand some delicious food can be grown in perennial systems:

- Pork (bacon, ham, prosciutto, sausages, etc.)
- Beef (meat and milk)
- chickens (meat and eggs)
- sheeps (meat and milk)
- Sunchokes (delicious tuber)
- Walking onions
- garlic (yes, it can be a perennial)
- Mushrooms
- Asparagus
- Horseradish
- Tons of fruits (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, plums, peaches, etc)
- Many types of nuts (chestnuts, acorns, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)

I think I could go on, but to me that sounds like there is plenty to choose from and make a really tasty and rich diet. The only thing that will be missed by many people is the bread, which can be made out of nuts.
 
Leila Rich
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Leila Rich wrote:
Joshua Simon wrote:Hey Mark I meant to ask you this at the course. What types of groundcover are in your Forrest garden? Also how do you manage your wood lot?

This is an old thread, but other people may well be able to give you ideas
Joshua Simon wrote:Marks last response was on July 21st. You consider that old?
Ok thanks

Sorry Joshua, I wasn't clear
I meant that if Mark isn't around to respond to your query, I'm sure others will.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Ethical values are different from people to people, but however most of us here do have one common value: that our choices care for the people and the planet around.

But even that is understood differently from person to person.

In my most ideal ethical world, people would eat a mostly local raised plant food, cultivated as part of a perennial no-till system, without inputs from outside of a farm. That could include raised animal products or fish, but some would still prefer not to kill another animal, and some would prefer to eat vegan. Some, for health reasons, believe that a raw diet is more healthy, while others believe a vegetarian diet is more healthy, while still others believe that a healthy diet should include plenty of seafood and bone stocks.

Anything, in my opinion, seems better than the current chemical-driven large monoculture system, that releases large amounts of CO2, by deforestation, tilling, growing monocrops of intensive annuals, clearing native habitats and dense raising of animals under unethical and unclean conditions.

I still do not eat as I would like to eat, because I still seem to need a considerate amount of carbohydrates in my diet. I eat a portion of it of nuts, but still a lot of grains. I am growing my own grains, while nuts seem impossible to grow in Iceland. However ideally, for me, like Mark, a forest garden should have nuts as a central aspect in alternative to raising grain.

I eat legumes, raised by me, as they fix the nitrogen for own garden. I am waiting for perennial protein crops, mushrooms are going to be the next thing I will try.

I eat local fish, because well Iceland seems an ideal country for that, in other countries eating fish could be less environmental friendly. But in a system like Seff Hozler, one could farm fish in your oww land. (eating animals raised locally, free range and well cared for, with dignity, is also fine for me, although I never eat meat as I dont like it). Wild hunting, if sustainable also a good choice.

Long term my goals are to eat (and grow) more perennials than annuals, but at the moment its still a long wait for those trees and shrubs to give their first crops. I just returned from a trip to forest gardens in the UK, so I am very inspired and commited in doing so. I guess I will get the book of Martin to inspire my self still a little bit more, while I wait during winter.

So, my current diet is like this:
50% grain, 10% legumes, 10% vegetables, 10% fruit, 10% milk and butter, 5% fish, 5% eggs, 1% seafood, 1% mushrooms, 0% meat, 0% soy (and perfect health)
about 50% organic, 50% conventional.
about 85% annuals, 15% perennials (mostly fruit and self-grown perennials alliums)
about 15% local (5% my own produce), 85% imported (Iceland is a hard case for this)
growing my own: vegetables, potatoes and legumes (enough for a couple of months between July and September, in the short growing season, still not enough produce to store for long term)
hopefully, 1 month of my own grown grain, if grain in Iceland ripens on time this month, before freezes begin (and that grain is perennial rye, so no issue with tilling or unsustainability with it)

my ideal diet would be much more perennial, and it will probably evolve that direction within the next years. But in a forest garden, one would need to grow more mushrooms to compensate for enough protein, and clearings savanna-style, for growing some annuals, like densely packed carbohydrate roots, nuts, pulses and seeds.

I am far from an ethical lifestyle, I drive a vehicle, I take flights ocasionally, (not eating meat reduces my footprint quite a bit, and I go for as most organic and local as possible),
I try to make my efforts going more and more in that direction.

one big good thing I do, is that I rarely ever buy processed food, and never from big companies, brands, corporations. Like all most western food, highly processed, with plenty of sugar and other chemicals added, and plenty of food miles, and from corporations with bad environmental curricula. Just simple wholesome grains, pulses, eggs, vegetables, cooking from scratch. But thats another topic
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