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Food forest dream = too much fruit / sugar?

 
Xisca Nicolas
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I try to have a wide view of what I am doing, and I have found out that there might be an excess of fruits in a food forest!
This topic is a little to express some nearly philosophic debate and talk about it.
And this is also for those who can help with some ideas for developing better my own ...partially forest place.

Do we really mimic nature with so many fruit trees? Have you ever seen so many fruit trees in a real forest?
Fruit trees are absolutely not the majority.
So should we stay with the name orchard (and not forest) when we produce fruits?

In nature, are trees grafted? Are fruits big?
Look at the crab apple...
The jujube is great and pest free, the modern cultivars even tastier, with bigger fruits.... and leading to fruit fly.

Are we made to eat so much sugar / fructose in our diet? Don't think so... Even those natural sugars...
Well, if you produce for selling, then it is ok.
If you want to produce for your own consuming, then what should a forest produce?
What you want and NEED to eat.

And greens and veggies are the first food, before, much before fruits.
Even apes do not eat so many fruits. They eat greens, leaves. And wormy fruits for their proteins...
I cannot help eating what I have, and it is more easy to prepare fruits than veggies, less time consuming.
So I can tell that fruits are as addictive as any other sugar...
And I understand children who do not want to eat their vegs, fruits are much mmm...
No, when I eat veggies, I love them, but when I have fruits, vegetables are just no more appealing.
I really want to have less fruits in the garden, and especially less big sweet fruits.

Ok, many people are fond of moringa for their food forest.
I also have chayamansa.
All of them because I am in the right climate for them.

I would love a brocoli tree, a swiss card tree, a parsley tree and more bean trees... (still looking for mesquite seeds!)
I am happy because I have found a pumpkin tree
Of course I love the olive tree!
and all oil producing trees
.

Then you have to chose for your "acid producing food", whether grains or meat, personal choice.
(I believe it is better to make a choice, between vegetarian or off grain, but that is a personal conclusion)
So, talking about "food forest" spread the idea of the "garden of heaven", where you extend the hand and take and be fed. No, you will not be fed. We need something else and that is why there is no place on earth with naturally occurring fruit-tree forests. Fruits are scarce in forests.

1) Then you need room for sowing grains, which do not not grow into the shade. Actually, all the people I know that eat grains and produce their food, buy all their grains (but some corn and beans). If you do not have a big farm to cultivate grain, and then have the necessary for transforming it into something that is edible for humans, then grains are the most difficult staple to produce completely at home.
So, I see people having a vegetable garden and then fruit trees, and all are sugar producing but the almond, olive and avocado (which is already great). But those trees are in general not sufficient to produce all the fat they eat.

2) My choice for health reasons is to have animals. If you want meat and eggs, then you need to be careful in your food forest. Animals will love the shade of your food forest, and might as well love the trees... Then you need to have lots of room, or buy fences. The forest will look less romantic!
(excuse me, I am in a deer-free place, vole-free place, squirrel-free place, fox-free place and so on, and could do without fencing. Rats don't mind!)

Of course, you can have grains for you and the animals, and then eat dairy and eggs and not meat, this is personal. I still think that hens deal better than me with some grains to process!

3) Is it a real choice...? I still need grains, because I want to feed my hens. I have chosen sorgho and amaranth as the first ones. BUT I will not have to process the grains! That is much better for me. Then I will have guinea pigs and ducks, may be quails and other birds that are possible. I prefer to rely on the outside for other animals (such as goats/cow/sheep) as they are too big for my place. I want a donkey, not for food...

Trees also need fertilizer from animals, so I will find a solution so that animals leave it where I want (and not carry it!)
So this is also why I prefer the animal food solution for myself.

I like quite a lot the savanna concept, hazelnuts and some inter-cropping, with enough room, and then the animals.
I just cannot understand the fruit tree forest, because this is not enough for feeding ourselves AND too much sugar in the diet.

I am actually looking for :

- Low sugar fruits, like wild varieties and berries. Full of anti-oxydants etc.
They also need less water.

- Nut and oil producing varieties.
I have almonds, but they are too rich in omega6...
I will have olives in a few years...

- Edible leaves trees. I have moringa and chayamansa. What else? Not so easy to find.

- Animal fodder. So I can have some acacia, mesquite... Ideas are welcome in this field!

- Timber varieties, or firewood varieties. Better if something is edible or medicinal at the same time.
I have thus found eucalyptus citriodora. I also grow some tea-trees.
I also need ideas, as informations are less easy to find than fruit trees!

- and I will slowly cut down some citrus. They drink too much water, and I cut the ill ones. They have phytophtora. I will also graft to get mandarins and grapefruits instead of only orange and lemons. And I am very happy with my many avocado trees! This is a good food.

- I stick on some "real fruit" varieties for some reasons: 1) I already have oranges and mango and apples. I let grow young trees before I cut only the necessary, especially if there are diseases. 2) Some fruits can be dried, and this is useful: bananas, mangoes and apples for example. 3) some fruit trees can be very adapted to my place. So I have even planted fig trees. 4) Some fruits can be medicinal like papaya. 5) Fruits can feed animals too, especially when they are wormy!

So, I like the term "forest garden", though it does not help to remember that some sun is needed for other plants, thus clearings or savanna.
But I have become less fond of the romantic "food forest", that makes us think more of the garden of heaven, a fruit garden, than a place where food under the shade can also have legs or wings!
 
Sean Banks
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Food forests are called Food Forests because they mimic the layers that one would find in a natural forest....for example there would be a herbaceous layer, shrub layer, sub canopy layer, canopy layer, and emergent layer. The goal is to find edible plants that can fit in each one of those layers so that you can pack in more to maximize output. What you do with that output in entirely up to you, some sell and others eat it all. The concept helps people become more independent and less reliant on outside sources. You do not have to pick every ripe fruit in your forest...just let them fall to the ground and decompose if your feeling overwhelmed and or let your animals eat them.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Thanks Sean, yes this is the theory, but if you see the result, then there is a real focus on FRUITS.
Are only the layers to be mimicked?
so that you can pack in more to maximize output. ... The concept helps people become more independent and less reliant on outside sources.

I agree... that is why fruits is far from being the main interest.

(about falling fruits, no I cannot let my oranges or any other decompose, because of the worms that will turn into new fruit fly ceratitis capitata. So I put them into water bucket until I can get hens.)
 
Alder Burns
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Historically, some of the main purposes for pursuing systems heavy on fruits and sugar is alcohol! Americans think so highly of a historical figure called "Johnny Appleseed" from colonial days as someone who wandered around selflessly planting apple orchards. Fact is most apple orchards in those days were for hard cider, everything else was a by-product. Alcohol and refined sugars and syrups are also dense, valuable, and very marketable items, and so were and are popular in any system whose goals transcend strict self-sufficiency.
Getting past grain is actually fairly easy on a small scale with climate adapted root crops, starting with the white and sweet potatoes and going on from there. Grains are, as you intuit accurately, more suited to large scale agriculture (just as fruits for alcohol and sugar crops) Both primarily serve the interests of the market and of empire, and always have. (look at the connections between sugar, rum, and slave trade, for instance; and the domination of global ag trade in grains and, for lack of a more magnanimous term, drug crops : sugar, tobacco, coffee, tea, cacao, etc.)
Starches from trees is pretty straightforward too, with the oak and the chestnut being the top players in the temperate zones. A problem with food forest thinking is the time it takes these things to grow and become productive. It really is a multigenerational project, which brings in the problem of sustainable community, land tenure, etc. Reliance on annuals, by contrast, contracts our thinking down to within one year......
 
John Polk
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Hogs are wonderful at converting surplus fruits into tasty pork.

I do agree with you about putting too much emphasis on fruits.
Fruits should not be the major part of one's diet.
The same goes for nuts. How many can you realistically eat in a year?

For me, annuals play a big part of the garden also.
With proper preservation, they can play a huge role in the overall diet throughout the year.
I couldn't imagine a kitchen without tomatoes, peppers (sweet & hot), onion, garlic and herbs.
Plus fresh greens for most of the year.

Most annuals produce a harvest earlier in the season than most fruits & nuts.
By the time they are harvested and put-up for the season, it is time to work the fruit/nut trees.

I believe that a healthy diet is comprised of everything...in moderation!





 
Dale Hodgins
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I think that "food meadow" might be a more accurate description of what many strive for. With various meadows in different stages of succession, just about any crop could be incorporated.

In nature, meadows provide a wider array of foods than do most climax forests.

The lush greenery of New Guinea forests provides very little edibles for humans on a per acre basis, with huge trees providing minuscule fruit or wind blown seeds. Likewise, the conifferous forests of N. America could not begin to feed us all. To get anything close to a healthy,abundant diet from a small forest, human selected cultivars must dominate. The natural forest trees at my place have nothing edible and practical to harvest other than maple syrup. The meadows contain a dozen things that can be eaten.
 
leila hamaya
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ah yes, you're onto something there for sure.

i admit i have an issue with excessive fruit/sugar consumption. actually fresh fruit helps me to avoid worse junk food sugar, but i have realized that its a big problem for me. after some difficult health issues for several years i adjusted slowly and determinedly to change my diet for good...away from way too much sugar/fruit (i would eat it all the time without making myself not do so) and more greens, raw, etc...actually many big diet changes...and over all i have gotten it a lot better but i still slip up and go on chocholate binges etc !

i was sugar free for a while, though admitteddly i have fallen off the wagon lately.....and even then and still i use a lot of alternative sugars, honey, agave, and others...and of course fruit and a lot of it.

its a bit tough to discuss sometimes...its not a popular thing for people to really want to do the sugar free thing, usually unless they really have to address it...like when the body becomes ill then you are like forced to deal with the sugar addictions, diet issues....course this particular group of people, the permies crowd are probably mostly doing better with the awareness of this....

perhaps its one of those like hidden blessings or something that i can't actually grow very much fruit here at all because the climate doesnt allow it. even still i have researched any fruit i think i might be able to get going, and stretch the climate. and gotten some yellow plums and a few cherries.

berries are excellent here, and abundant even in abandoned place, theres a LOT of berries that love this climate.
...and theres a few fruits that can get going here but lacking enough "chill hours" and lacking intense sun and heat, most fruits just wont grow here at all. i think i can grow figs, the kiwis are awesome, and grapes can be done....but most commercially conventional fruit just wont grow here, or wouldnt produce fruit anyway even if you get them started.

o yeah except lemons, which is the only citrus we can grow here (and i do have some lemon trees =) which are excellent...
but they are really quite different than most other fruit, and very healing.
 
leila hamaya
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i also agree that a small amount of meat in one's diet is very healthy. to me it's about proportions, and about the conditions of the farmed, or even better wild, meat is raised in...rather than having to be extreme and go total vegetarian. i was a loose not strict vegetarian for almost twenty years, but i did eat fish, cheese and eggs occasionally, and as part of my diet over haul changes...it became clear to me that i should begin eating small amounts of meat.

not to say that someone cant be healthy when eating a vegetarian diet, but it does require a lot more attention to nutrition in general. i think a lot of vegetarians are not having the healthiest diets, are eating food thats dripping with gasoline from far away factory farmed veggies or worse too much soy...also theres vegetarian seemingly good for you but not-junk food....and i have noticed in several people the tendancy to then go over board with sugars. the body is craving and lacking other things...but somehow it translate instead to intense sugar cravings...for the malnutrition.

again i think it is about, or should be about proportions, i dont think anyone should eat meat excessively or anywhere close to daily....

and i think the trying to get back to the garden of eden orchard connection...well thats all an interesting train of thought.

when perhaps the garden of eden might have actually been filled with psychedelic acacias!!! throw in some (harmala alkaloids) syrian rue...the old middle eastern mystics used to make a kind of psychedelic similar to that found in the amazonian tribal cultures yage.

ok yeah yeah....they are edible too...but i think theres some fascinated connections there...the shittim *tree of life*trees i was just writing about...i have pondered about those connections =)
 
Peter Ellis
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Thanks Sean, yes this is the theory, but if you see the result, then there is a real focus on FRUITS.
Are only the layers to be mimicked?
so that you can pack in more to maximize output. ... The concept helps people become more independent and less reliant on outside sources.

I agree... that is why fruits is far from being the main interest.

(about falling fruits, no I cannot let my oranges or any other decompose, because of the worms that will turn into new fruit fly ceratitis capitata. So I put them into water bucket until I can get hens.)


I cannot get past the sense that you are focusing too much on the trees in the forest There are multiple layers to the food forest and they are not all about producing fruit. I am not sure that any of the layers are all about producing fruit, in fact. So, if there's an abundance of fruit in the trees, surely you can find balance for that with all the vegetables you grow at the lower levels.

I think your perceived problem is not a problem with the "food forest" concept, but perhaps relates to some executions you have seen, or to your looking at only part of the system rather than the whole thing.

I just don't see an inherent fruit overload as part of the food forest approach. Of course, with any planned garden, you can put too much emphasis on a given product (how much squash do I really need? Now how much more than that am I growing? ), but that is a planning error, not an error inherent to the concept of a planned garden.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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And the black locust tree is very appreciated in permaculture... no fruit. sweet flowers!

You cannot deny that in the spirit of the forest garden, there is ...something like recovering the garden of Eden. ...Something about horticulture (like ancient inhabitants of California who were tending the land). In our genesis, this is associated to the apple tree, and the fruit tree in general. Adam and Eve were supposed to collect and eat the fruits from the garden of Eden.

If you made a random inquiry in the street: 1) I am sure that fruits would come first in most people's mind if you ask what were the Eden's foods.
2) If you also ask people about the diet of our close cousins, apes, fruits are supposed to be their main source of food, which it is not. Few people will tell you green leaves, insects, or even some preys.

Then I make a parallel also with the developed taste of sugar we have. Fruits are the authorized sugars of the "good diets"!

I was not talking about the theory, the principles of permaculture, but about the dream, the image, what is culturally behind it... and that surely influences us! ... even if we stick to the principles, the layers etc.

About fruits, let's have a look at the topic of this forest garden forum... Are they mostly about fruit trees or not?
 
Peter Ellis
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:And the black locust tree is very appreciated in permaculture... no fruit. sweet flowers!

You cannot deny that in the spirit of the forest garden, there is ...something like recovering the garden of Eden. ...Something about horticulture (like ancient inhabitants of California who were tending the land). In our genesis, this is associated to the apple tree, and the fruit tree in general. Adam and Eve were supposed to collect and eat the fruits from the garden of Eden.

If you made a random inquiry in the street: 1) I am sure that fruits would come first in most people's mind if you ask what were the Eden's foods.
2) If you also ask people about the diet of our close cousins, apes, fruits are supposed to be their main source of food, which it is not. Few people will tell you green leaves, insects, or even some preys.

Then I make a parallel also with the developed taste of sugar we have. Fruits are the authorized sugars of the "good diets"!

I was not talking about the theory, the principles of permaculture, but about the dream, the image, what is culturally behind it... and that surely influences us! ... even if we stick to the principles, the layers etc.

About fruits, let's have a look at the topic of this forest garden forum... Are they mostly about fruit trees or not?


Actually, I certainly can deny that association with the garden of eden. It reveals a peculiar cultural bias on your part that you feel so strongly that it is part of the concept - but it is a bias that is not universally shared.

Again, I suggest that you are focused on trees to the exclusion of the other plants that are grown in the food forest. Grow the green veggies and root vegetables on the lower levels of your food forest to get the balance you want.

Every person planning out a food forest will do it the way they want, with whatever emphasis they choose. It is not inherent in the concept "food forest" that it will be unbalanced in any direction - but each execution is unique and will reflect the choices of those involved in creating it.

I don't see any benefit in judging others for how they choose to organize their food forest, it's theirs to do with as they feel is best.

And to repeat myself, in terms of the cultural basis and dream behind the forest garden - Eden is not a universally shared belief.
 
leila hamaya
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yeah i personally have always thought the whole eden story to be a bit fishy!

more than a bit fishy actually, just totally weird. it seems clear to me that "apple" is actually a changed word, which does not refer to the common apple, even symbolically it doesnt really fit.

i guess i havent contemplated it quite the same way at all, but to me theres many strange elements of the story, especially the theme of EXILE...as though a god would be like a landlord ! elitism and a sense of who's allowed/ not allowed.... it makes more sense in the paradigms of dominator's cultural memes, and reinforces them.

the heaven, the eden, i want is one where all are welcome =)

but i do think there may be some reference to psychedelics actually, acacia specifically, that and also theres a pagan theme shown there, like many of the mythologies of those religions and cultures...i wont go so far as to say "stolen" but sort of blended into the conquering cultures memes and myths....as was done which much of the ancient pagan myths, rituals and etc...and the tree reference makes this clear to me, though odd that it would be changed to be about fruit...and not about how trees were considered sacred beings to pagan and shamanistic/animistic tribal cultures across the world.
a reference, though many dont agree with this work, i think this guy is on target:

http://www.imprint.co.uk/pdf/Roberts.pdf

http://www.psychointegrator.com/down/biblical_entheogens.pdf

anywho i am getting off to the side of what you want to discuss, i bet...but i do think about this kind of thing for sure, and have been intrigued enough to explore the references and connections of this stuff, and of the ancient mystical psychedelic rituals, acacia, soma/haoma, syrian rue and all the rest. the "bread of light" rituals, and other ways that these two were combined to induce ecstatic altered states of consciousness.

and perhaps i should also add i mean no offense to anyone's ideas, religious beliefs, etc...i suppose i cant help it as a pagan just my beingness is somewhat apparently offensive (!)
to more close minded christians, and similar ideologies/religions

and i guess this isnt so much what you are getting at...anyway, whatever historical references and whatever else, the facts, of this mythical stuff

more just the way people think of it...and i do think its interesting what you are saying...anyway.
in the context of certain cultural memes...having been kicked out of some great place, trying to get back to this, the fruit references...etc...but in other kinds of POV it seems quite different.
 
Andy Reed
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As far as animal fodder goes, Tree Lucerne or Tagasaste is possibly the best animal fodder tree there is. Nitrogen fixing, drought and frost resistant, with a low bushy profile, it even grows well in very poor soils. Most amazing of all it is native to your own home Canary Islands. Another good tree is saltbush, which has similar properties except it's not a nitrogen fixer.

 
Jose Reymondez
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I´ve thought about this also and I want to get a lot of nut crpos out of my canopy, perennial vegetables from my herbaceous layer, perennial beans from my vine layer and root crops that can grow in part sun out of my ground layer. I think the trick to forest gardening is having spots that let a lot of sun in to the bottom layers.

Since you´re in the Canaries and strong sun, you have a lot of options for getting plenty of foods in part sun or part shade, You mentioned vegeatble trees, there is a spinach tree ! Chaya http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnidoscolus_aconitifolius

For ideas looks at Toensmeier´s pae, you could probably plant most of the stuff here. http://www.perennialsolutions.org/perennial-farming-systems-organic-agriculture-edible-permaculture-eric-toensmeier-large-scale-farmland.html

Also, you could also probably get cereals in open spaces in the forestgarden, especially with a subtropical climate.
 
Renate Howard
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Well, if you think about how "Permaculture" = "Permanent Agriculture" which is a heavy emphasis on perennial crops, and the fact that most of the leafy greens we like to eat are annuals, I can totally see how it can appear to be an overemphasis on fruit and nuts. I guess the thing is, there's the ideal on what's different about permaculture versus modern agriculture, and then there's the way people actually practice it - where they pretty much do have vegetable gardens and grow annual crops as well - but do it in a different way.

Also, a fruit is anything with the seed inside - so a lot of what we think of as "vegetables" are actually fruits - not just tomatoes, but also peppers, squash, eggplant, okra, etc.

Annual edibles grow really fast because they have to complete their lifecycles in one year, often in just a few months, so they return a lot for our effort, especially certain cool season ones like bok choi or kale which you can harvest for months by only taking a few leaves from each plant - you can grow enough greens for a family in a very small space with minimal work.

IMHO, a lot of the unhealthful effects of meat come from the heavy emphasis on grain in their feeds. Many meat animals can live in a food forest on the output of the trees and meadows between them, with hay as a winter/dry season feed and no need to plant and harvest grains at all. In fact, if you look at the diets of the people native to wherever you live, if not a lot of fruits/vegetables grow there, you can pretty much bet a lot of meat animals live there on the forage and seeds that are not so edible to humans. Weston A. Price found cultures that had really short growing seasons where they only ate plant matter for a portion of the year, but had dairy animals and they preserved the nutrients they would have gotten from year-round vegetable eating in the form of cheeses from the milk of the goats or cattle that grazed the lush pastures and gave their milk during that short growing season.

Cultures in places with too heavy an emphasis on edible plants, like in New Guinea, see problems with lack of enough dietary protein that leads to some odd excesses out of the cravings for meat and fat-soluble vitamins, like ritualized cannibalism.

As for forage, a lot of places outside the USA use tree leaves as alternatives to grass during the times of year that grass doesn't grow well (and don't forget grass is often a no-maintenance perennial food for animals!) - especially important fodder trees for livestock like mulberry, willow, and poplar; they are easy to start, grow rapidly, survive being cut back very well, and offer a lot of nutrients that even cattle can digest. In some places cattle on tree-based fodder actually give more milk than grass, etc. because the nutritional levels in grass go up and down depending on the season and stage of growth. Goats can live through the winter on dry tree leaves collected in the fall (if you can store enough). Chickens don't mind eating the fat annual grains we grow and harvest for them, but the better ones also make good use of the small seeds in the fruit they eat and grass/clover seeds. When we lived in PA our chickens barely touched the grain we put out for them all summer. Here, they need to be fed twice a day - I think the difference is the amount of wild berries that were available for them in PA - there was a full season of wild wineberries, raspberries, blackberries, black cherries, mulberries, grapes, ground cherries, poke berries, etc.
 
S Bengi
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Its a fruit, nut, herb, leaf vegetable and root vegetable food forest possible with birds (eggs+meat), dwarf goats (milk+meat), bee (honey) and fish.
Here are a few nuts that you can grow almond, chestnut, hazelnut, walnut, pecan, chilean nut, yellohorn, monkey puzzle, stone pine please dont limit yourself.
Alot of the fruits are also not sweet eg, silver berry, goumi, autumn olive, sour cherry, etc. You can use the fruits to feed animals.

Now I suppose that you are not complaining about farms or even homestead but the avg city lot permie that has maybe 18 fruit/nut trees.
Please be assured, that less than 7% of their yearly calorie comes from the huge backyard orchard that they have. Instead 70% of it comes from corn syrup and flour.
Pretty sad I know.

However you do bring up an important point we should aim for a 40% carbs (including sugar), 30% protein, 30% fat food intake.
With alot of those carbs coming from beans, nuts and root vegetables and almost none coming from grains, esp processed bleached grains.

So with 1/4 of the food forest as N-fixers aka protein, 1/4 as nuts, 1/4 as fruits, 1/10 as pond/fish, 1/10 as animal (bird/dwarf goat) runs and rest as vegetables including root vegetables.
Do you think this would be a better setup? In your minds eye what is the percentage breakdown of the avg food forest.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I've made an important determination. I'm going to consume plenty of sugar. It's 6:40 am and I just had a smoothie containing strawberries, blueberries, lemon, carrots, pumpkin seeds, cabbage and 5 kinds of nuts. The fruit in this mix overwhelmed the flavor of the vegetables which I wouldn't have bothered with on their own. As breakfast foods go, mine was pretty nutritious. The sweetness of the fruit made all that other good stuff more palatable.
 
S Bengi
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Strawberry is 100x better than high fructose corn syrup. No debate their.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Thanks all for these very interesting inputs!
Andy Reed wrote:As far as animal fodder goes, Tree Lucerne or Tagasaste is possibly the best animal fodder tree there is. Nitrogen fixing, drought and frost resistant, with a low bushy profile, it even grows well in very poor soils. Most amazing of all it is native to your own home Canary Islands.

I have to plant it, as it originates from the higher altitudes of the island! (800m and I am at 500m)
Actually, we have a sort of pitch trefoil, bituminaria bituminosa, another legume, that is really more drought resistant... Here it grows profusely. It should be more spoken about!
Also we have the marvelous vinagrera, rumex lunaria, an endemic bush. So great in summer for animals! And so green... Actually, I just thought that I could make it known! (it would be off topic so I promise to make one and talk about it)

Jose Reymondez wrote:Since you´re in the Canaries and strong sun, you have a lot of options for getting plenty of foods in part sun or part shade, You mentioned vegeatble trees, there is a spinach tree ! Chaya http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnidoscolus_aconitifolius

Also, you could also probably get cereals in open spaces in the forestgarden, especially with a subtropical climate.


Yes you mention chaya, and I have 3 little ones growing. I have sorghum that lives with almost no watering.

About planting, I switch to more berries and less fruits. Also to escape the ceratitis capitata...

S Benji, my only restriction is my climate, almonds yes, hazelnut no way...
Yes I believe that the focus on fruit trees comes from people having small land, who cannot afford to produce their fat and protein, so they try to produce their vegetables and fruits.
Renate, yes I see also that too much grains is as much a problem for other animals than us! Thanks for the anthropological details, a field that is always helpful.

One point I wanted to focus on is that not only nature mimic counts but also what we want to eat (that is why I spoke about sugar), and that I think we must be careful that modern fruits have nothing to do with what nature and a real forest will provide us with.

I will come back on other points that I think are hidden behind all this and that are not obvious because we are "in it".
These points have to do with the culture that led to the reaction called permaculture.
 
Jason Matthew
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This topic is interesting to me because I have been on the Primal/paleo diet for about 9 weeks. I have lost about 3 inches off my waistline in that time. As someone else mentioned, it is your food forest, you can grow what you want. I am going to find a breed of small hog that will consume some portion of my fruit production and convert it into fat and protein for me. I
 
Xisca Nicolas
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That is also more or less my diet...
I know everybody grows what he or she wants, but at the same time, there are some guidelines, and we cannot be but influenced by others!

And most of the titles of the forest garden topics, and elsewhere too, shows me that there is an emphasis on growing fruits.
As our western societies are very keen on sweet foods, then fruits are much more natural and better than corn fructose syrup!!

So I wanted to know if anybody here shared this and also thought that there is here something we should be careful about in designing.
 
Dan Boone
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I just want to update this interesting old thread with some nutritional science that backs up Dale's point to an extent.  Although each of us must seek out our own ideal diet, it's worth keeping in mind that Xisca's focus on greens and veggies as "the first food ... much before fruit" is, while fine for Xisca, not necessarily a stricture that needs to inform permaculture design generally.  The science seems to suggest that the sugars in whole fruits are not harmful even when fruit is consumed in ridiculous quantity:

According to the Harvard Health Letter: “The nutritional problems of fructose and sugar come when they are added to foods. Fruit, on the other hand, is beneficial in almost any amount.”

What do they mean almost? Can we eat ten fruits a day? How about twenty?

We don’t have to guess. It’s actually been put to the test. In one study, seventeen people were made to eat 20 servings a day of fruit. Despite the extraordinarily high fructose content of this diet (about 200 grams per day, or the amount in 8 cans of soda), the investigators reported no adverse effects (and possible benefit actually) for body weight, blood pressure, insulin, and lipid levels after three to six months.

More recently, Jenkins and colleagues put people on a 20 servings of fruit a day diet for a few weeks with no adverse effects on weight, blood pressure, or triglycerides and an astounding 38 point drop in LDL cholesterol.

There was one side effect, though. Their bathroom habits became very regular.


(Paper citations are at the link.)

People here at Permies have a host of differing notions about ideal human nutrition and I'm not here to argue with any of them.  Plant-based-eating cured my Type II diabetes and my vascular insufficiency (which is to say, it made the growing black zone on my left shin go away, to my enormous relief) so that's what I'm doing, but I won't say a word against anybody else's choices; I assume they have reasons for their choices as good as the reasons I have for mine.  All I'm doing is offering some reassurance to someone who worries that their permaculture food forest might generate too much fruit for healthy living.  Contrary to the popular "all sugar is evil" wisdom, there's evidence that adding sugar to food may be harmful in a way that eating fruit seems not to be.  And I thought it was worth bringing that perspective to this thread.  If fruit-heavy guilds are what work under your conditions, it would be a shame to avoid them because of a notion that too much fruit is a problem in the human diet -- especially if that notion is not backed up by the experimental evidence.
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Pretty sure it's the fiber that proves the point explained in Dan's post.

Just bear in mind that doesn't apply when the fruit is juiced [including fermented.]

Juice and alcohol products should be consumed in moderation [with perhaps occasional indulgences if carefully moderated.]
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Good observations Dan.  Everyone has different ideas of what their ideal diet is or should be, and that is part of human free choice (my personal opinion only).
To my mind, the first thing any of us should do is learn what nutrition our bodies absolutely have to have, then you can add nutrition that you want after that.

When I first became involved with nutrition I spent several months reading about the requirements for a healthy body.
From there I explored the diets of my ancestors to discover what foods they ate and how their health compared to modern days.

Now my wife and I follow a fairly complete diet, consisting of items that are aimed at keeping our bodies and minds in good functioning order.


It is my belief and practice to look towards balance as the end goal. We have a small orchard and a small vineyard along with lots of garden spaces and we add to all of these each year as we build towards our nutritional independence from grocery stores.
As we go along on this journey, we constantly strive for balance both within ourselves and our farm, when we achieve these, we will be much more food independent and that is our goal.
What we are doing is not what anyone else should do, it is simply the way we are going about self providing.

Every piece of land, just as every individual, is (are) different and that means there is no "correct" way to do things. In fact, there must be many different ways, because that is what diversity is.

Redhawk
 
Andrew Brock
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:Pretty sure it's the fiber that proves the point explained in Dan's post.

Just bear in mind that doesn't apply when the fruit is juiced [including fermented.]

Juice and alcohol products should be consumed in moderation [with perhaps occasional indulgences if carefully moderated.]


I can add to this my personal account. I eat approx. 200g a sugar a day from approx. 500g of carbs, and 100g of fiber. Most of this is from whole plant foods and very little grains or processed carbs.  My last blood test my blood glucose was 91 mg/dL. The recommended range is 60-99
 
Bryant RedHawk
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It seems that the sugar to be concerned with is processed sugar, HF corn syrup, etc.  Fructose, while a natural fruit sugar, would also be considered a processed sugar when found in items other than where it naturally occurs.

Excess sugars are turned to carbohydrate then to fat in the human body, this happens more with the "processed sugars" than with the natural sugars except when those are eaten to excess.

People who live in extreme cold can and in-fact should eat more fat than those of us in temperate, sub-tropical or tropical areas.

So, if you are doing enough work to burn extra sugars, you probably should be eating extra sugars.

Know your body's needs, then it is easier to properly fill those needs without hitting the excessive mark.

This goes for pretty much everything, fats, carbs, proteins, sugars, starches, and on and on. Every body is different and so has different needs. Once you know your body, you can make good choices for adjustments. (same goes for improving your soil).
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Thanks for all this!
I could update too, I eat much more fruits now, especially in autumn. From now on, until the cold days in january, I am nearly fructivore, adding proteins and fats but no grains.
Fruits instead of carbohydrates.
I also think it is fine with whole fruits.

At the momento avocadoes are falling from the tres, so I eat more.
Then I will have a moment with mangoes, and will try to beat the rats at the rat race for them!
Then same with my chirimoyas....

And last year I had a lot of guavas during 3 months!
I have found ways to eat them.....

And right now I eat many tunos, = prickly pears.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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