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Vegan Perennial Food Forest Vision

 
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My vision is a vegan, all perennial food forest, supplying all nutritional needs. Crazy, I know, but it is just a fun brain challenge at the moment!

I have been researching for my hardiness zone (USDA Zone 5b) and number crunching in a nutrition calculator. My 13 acre property is mostly shady hardwood forest. I think my main nutritional perennial foods would be:
-walnuts
-hazelnuts
-persimmons
-chestnuts

I input 60g each of walnuts and hazelnuts (which is about 15 nuts of each), 10 chestnuts, 15g persimmons. This is still short on calories by about 300, and short on protein by about 20g, and rather low in vitamin A. If I had additional walnuts, hazelnuts, and persimmon, that would complete it.

I could also seasonally forage for trout lily, white lettuce, wild ginger, clover, creeping charlie, dock seeds and leaves, black raspberries, pawpaws, plantain, dandelion, jewelweed, greenbriar, violets, chives, morels, and wood nettle, which all exist on my property. But these would all be just supplemental, since they are seasonal, in limited quantity, and don't provide much calories. I wouldn't want to overharvest them. I also planted two pear trees and a mulberry, which will hopefully be producing this year. I am considering planting perennial sunflowers which might provide some seed?

I ferment with L. Plantarum for B12/improved B vitamins and digestion, and sunbathe for vitamin D.

I am still researching to find more sources for protein that would be perennial, vegan, and survive in my hardwood environment, but so far this is the most do-able that I have found.
 
steward
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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For perennial protein this year I've planted some Kentucky Coffee Trees for their immature green seeds and also some seed producing Hopniss for their seeds and tubers.  Looking forward to seeing if they work out for me in my forest garden.  Mulberry leaves from Morus alba are supposed to be something like 15 - 30% protein by dry weight and I do like making tea from their powdered leaves.
 
Meli Mot
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Thank you! I looked for those in my nutrition tracker. I found dried mulberry leaf tea, but it didn't show any protein. It didn't have the Kentucky coffeetree pods or hopniss listed, unfortunately.

I wanted to mention, I had read these books to get some ideas:

Tree Crops-A Permanent Agriculture, J Russell Smith; Forest Gardening: Cultivating an edible landscape, Robert Hart; How to Make a Forest Garden, Patrick Whitefield; Edible Forest Gardens, Eric Toensmeier; Establishing a Food Forest, Geoff Lawton
 
pollinator
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Ontario, 6b
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Sunchokes should also be part of your plan. Amazing calories per acre on them and once they are in, you basically just harvest as needed.
I have sample a young leaf, since they are also high protein, but I found them pretty unpleasant, at least raw.
You may need to ease into eating them, or do more processing, such as fermenting due to their inulin levels. Otherwise they can cause some digestive distress.

Our place has come with a couple of redbuds so I'm going to try their young seed pods this year as well as the flowers.
 
pollinator
Posts: 192
Location: Middle of South Dakota, 4a
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Be sure to include Oyster mushrooms and any other edible fungi available to you. They may already be out there and if not are easy to innoculate.
 
pollinator
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Location: Chicago
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If you have maple trees, some kinds of maple seeds can be eaten when green, boiled like edamame.
 
pollinator
Posts: 223
Location: Southwest VT, zone 5a slope ~10°-30°
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Hello Meli,

This sounds like an excellent project and I’m excited to hear about how it goes. It seems like we are in somewhat similar zones of climate and vegetation, and possibly very good soil, so I would like suggest a few more good food plants, especially for if you have any sunnier patches.
-Apple trees
-American plum cultivars
-Parsnip—they are excellent self-sowing staples for the winter time, and may already be growing wild near you, and quite digestible as a staple. I think everyone in climates and soils similar to mine should grow them;
-Sochan, a good perennial green vegetable related to Black-eyed Susan.
-Pokeweed—I haven’t figured them out for cooking, but they’re a traditional vegetable, very easy to grow and long lived.
-Dame’s Rocket—in some areas they may be considered invasive, and perhaps they are already growing nearby. They are an excellent vegetable though.
-Ramps—plant as many as you can!
-Garlic—can be grown perennially in sunnier patches, and they tolerate a lot of competition and neglect. They will also self sow via bulblets. I mostly eat leaves and scapes from them, with a small bulb harvest.
-Potato, certain varieties are also perennial in good soil. These are a very good staple root.  
 
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Meli, I love reading of this vision. If I had land, and it had a food forest, I would want to what I could to keep it going. This is a sustainable way people could have to keep going.
 
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