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Food Forest card game - KICKSTARTER now live!
(11 likes, 3 apples)

A new kickstarter campaign has just been launched to produce these rather brilliantly thought out food forest game cards.

Here's the link - Food Forest, a card game inspired by Permaculture - KICKSTARTER

The theme of the cards is relationships between plants and other elements that might be found in a food forest.

The designer, Karl Treen, explains that two years ago he began planning a food forest for his son's school based on the principles of permaculture. During his classroom presentations he needed an easy way to teach the connections between plants, insects and animals. These cards are the result.

So how do the cards work? Here's an example - every plant has things that it needs (inputs) and things that it provides (outputs).

Perhaps, however, a plant requires more nitrogen than basic soil can continuously provide. In that case, we would list N (the symbol for nitrogen) on the playing card as an input (rather than an output), and the card would pair well with this clover card, which offers nitrogen as an output. Thus, the blueberry bush, which requires extra nitrogen for healthy production, pairs nicely with the clover card, whose root nodes are able to take nitrogen from the air and feed it directly to the clover stalks and leaves. The clover, over time, is naturally composted, providing excess nitrogen for the blueberry plant to use.

Here's a close-up of the strawberry card.

And this is a video showing its creation.

This is an example of a three-card 'guild' - can you see the connections between the elements depicted in the cards?

And a four-card guild.

On his website, foodforestcardgame.com, Karl explains that "My Food Forest playing cards are both an outlet and an educational tool. On the one hand, they allow me to express myself in fun, creative format. On the other, they help me build games that can be shared with the world. The cards do not, however, tell the complete story. There are many subtleties that cannot be expressed in a deck of cards. It is my hope that they will be a fun jumping-off point, a way for people to play with the concepts of companion plantings, food forests, and "Permaculture zones", creating virtual companion plantings that might, someday, inspire a healthier world."

And what a wonderful tool these cards are to jump-start that process!

Here are a few links from Karl's site to help you explore the cards and their uses a little more.

What is a food forest?

Completed playing cards

Understanding the playing cards

Food Forest: game instructions - including links to downloadable pdfs explaining various games that can be played using the cards.

Thank you Mother Tree! Very cool post!
Great to have you here Karl!

When does the kickstarter go live?
Thanks Burra! We are currently waiting for Kickstarter to finish reviewing the project. They have OKed it but also offered to review it. I chose to undergo the review process, in case there was something to be learned from it. This process takes up to two business days, which means that they should be done by Tuesday or Wednesday. I am insanely busy on Wednesdays, so the launch will be either Tuesday or Thursday, depending on when the review is complete.
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These cards are gorgeous and so well-thought-out! I'm looking forward to contributing to the kickstarter campaign.
Thank you Emilie!

What a nice surprise to find this message at midnight!

Please pass the word along. We will need lots of support to reach our goal!

The kickstarter is now live - here's the link

Food Forest, a card game inspired by Permaculture - KICKSTARTER

I'm going to edit the first post too, so the link is easier to find.
Thank you Burra! I'm buzzing through all of my social media accounts right now! Looks like you beat me to this one!
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I'm kinda worried that I may be fueling a dangerous addiction here. Some of my family members get a little obsessed with their strategy games.
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Backed! it looks great, happy to see creativity finds its way to share knowledge
Great work and beautiful art!
Interesting. At least it's not a variant on Memory. I like the connection of inputs and outputs.
I would really rather they used hexagons instead of squares, as squares limit the number of connections to 4.

(1 like)
It looks like an interesting game. I'm not a 'gamer' at all, but maybe some of my FB-friends, so I shared the link.
(3 likes, 1 apple)

Dustin Hollis wrote:Interesting. At least it's not a variant on Memory. I like the connection of inputs and outputs.
I would really rather they used hexagons instead of squares, as squares limit the number of connections to 4.

Hi Dustin! Actually, I thought of that when designing the cards. Some games allow for connections not just at sides but at corners, thus extending the connections to 8! That's why the sun is positioned at the corners. So if you place a sun-loving plant on the north corner of the barn card (ie: behind the barn), you would be casting shade on it. Thanks for checking it out!

Thanks for all the support, friends! And thank you Permies.com! We couldn't do it without you!
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The cards do not, however, tell the complete story. There are many subtleties that cannot be expressed in a deck of cards.

Ultimately, I think this is the problem. They might work well as a game to teach the kids what the parents are trying to do. My worry is that it's the kind of thing to make parents overconfident. For example, a groundcover botanical subcommunity just after you plant your trees (which will involve plants comfortable being out in the open) will not be the same as the subcommunity when the canopy closes and the plants need dappled or even deep shade. Following this game without further thought is the kind of thing to leave you wondering why half your plants didn't make it.

It seems like a great game to play with the kids round the stove, and I'd support it on that basis as an introduction to food forest ecology, but not so much a teaching tool for adults.

(1 like)
Great idea! I picked up two so I can gift one at some point.
Good luck with the KickStarter.
Hi Neil,

You may be surprised to hear it but, as the creator, this is a huge concern of mine. I will continue to try, at every opportunity, to let people know that this is a simplified version of some very complex stuff. That said, I have some very adults that I teach who are really operating at a basic level. Most of them don't even know that there is such a thing as a perennial vegetable. They need an introduction to this that they can wrap their brains around. A game is a great way to start but, yes, it is just the beginning.

Then there are the adults who already know that this is a simplification. Many do, however, still enjoy playing with the cards -- because it makes them think of new combinations that just may work. Then they hit the books and the Internet to see what others have tried in different climates, etc.

We need to be constantly vigilant about the dangers of watering this information down too much. But we also need to get people excited about it. It's a tough line to walk.

Your point is totally valid. Thank you for raising it.

All the best,
Thanks Derek! We really appreciate the support!
(1 like)
Hey Karl,
Your game-idea even reached over the Atlantic ocean I just got shared this post from a friend of the German permaculture-network.

The whole idea made me smile, because I did a similar project last year. The result is Ecogon (http://www.ecogon.de/Ecogon), a board-game about ecosystems (even my initial thoughts were about a permaculture-game too), which was successfully crowdfundet last summer.
I really like the idea about „input-output“ values on the cards, which can create a really complex network of elements. Its great to have a tool for showing this on the example of foodforests.
Would be great to exchange some game-developer-experients

For those who would like to have a look at Ecogon can check out my (not up to date) blog https://ecogon.wordpress.com/nature-conservation/, or of course https://www.facebook.com/EcogonTheGame. The game is currently available just in German, but latest in June will be the English version published.
@Dustin: It is Hexagonal

I will share your Kickstarter right away and wish you all the best for the campaign!
Good luck,
Hi Micha,

Your game is absolutely beautiful! I found the website a few weeks ago, while doing a routine search for other Permaculture games. I LOVE it!

Collaboration is definitely something we should consider in the future! Right now, of course, I'm super-busy (as you can well understand) but email me when things settle down! karl(at)PermacultureProvidence[dot]org I'd love to order a copy of your game! Aber mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut! I've hiked quite a bit in southern Germany and Austria, so I can get an "einzelzimmer" and order alpine cheese, but that's about it!

Can you tell me what the shipping is to the USA? Is it on Amazon.com? And are there instructions in English somewhere?

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My pre-release test cards have just arrived, right when I'm in the middle of spring cleaning and there isn't clear surface in the whole house to test them on. I'll scrape some space somehow and get busy with them and report very soon.

In the meantime, here's the video from the kickstarter, which I think you'll all enjoy.

(1 like, 1 apple)
Hello Permies!

Wow, what a great response I've had! About half of all the support for my Food Forest card game Kickstarter has come from Permies.com! This is a very special group with amazing volunteers!

I don't know if you all caught my grapevine time-lapse video yet. For those who like watching artwork being created, it's a fun view. Please check it out, and thanks again for all of your support!

What ho, friends!!!

Forgot to mention: the Food Forest card game also can be followed on Twitter (not just FB). And a friend kindly started a Reddit thread for us, too! If you see us anywhere else, please let me know!!!

By participating in, and sharing, any of these forums you really help our campaign! Right now we're at 36%, which is awesome for just 72 hours! It shows real enthusiasm and support! But we'll need a lot MORE support before we make it to the finish line!

Check it out:
Twitter: Twitter
Reddit: Reddit
Facebook (Food Forest card game page)
Facebook (Karl Treen)

Yer the best!!!

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Raffle Alert!
In case you missed it, I am raffling off two advance copies of the Food Forest card game this weekend. Simply share my Kickstarter link on Facebook and let me know, here or on FB, that you have done so! If we reach 75% this weekend, you might just end up with an extremely rare advance copy of the game. Only 30 exist!

Kickstarter Link to Share

Ian holding cards

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Over half way already!
Yes!!! Thanks to Permies!
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Just bumping this up to make sure everyone can find it...
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This kickstarter is great, the card game is a very interesting idea Karl had. We should consider the effect on teaching it can have, using alternative methods, even fun ones, we learn more and can deal with the topic in a creative way.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective.
I love the idea.

With a few friends we're working on the idea of translating the card game in italian. karl has been very supportive with the idea, we'll see how the whole campaign goes and see if it is possible.
Would be nice to see this card set translated in other languages!

For now we have to support the campaign! c'mon permies lets show what this community is capable of!
(1 like)

Lorenzo, Thank you! I am so excited to be supported by your group!

We are moving steadily toward our goal here but the days are ticking away! For anyone who wants a deck of these cards and has not yet backed our project, the time is now! We are close, but not yet close enough to be certain of being funded.
Food Forest card game Kickstarter campaign

Thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far. And thank you to everyone who has shared our Facebook posts. To find the latest news, please check us out on FB and maybe find something new to share with your friends
Food Forest card game on Facebook

80% of the way there - let's have a final push to get this project out into the world.

I'd love to see these cards out there and helping people of all ages learn.
I'm really excited about these cards. I'm a very visual learner and being able to see what exactly each plant needs and makes is super helpful!
The drawings are adorable, and I also really love the youtube videos of the drawing process. So cool!
This project has to succeed, the world will be a better place with these cards in it. Hooray for permaculture!

Thank you Tiffany! What a great endorsement! Noted and appreciated!
I ordered three decks the minute I laid eyes on them. I love the way the cards are designed to fit together, showing how many elements fit together in mutual benefit. I got so excited I had a flurry of emails with the artist about all the potential these cards have.
Thank you SO MUCH Thekla! Your support and encouragement has been tremendously helpful! I can't wait to get this project fully funded so that people all around the world can start playing with the cards!

Thanks for your cards, Karl.
Nearly there - it's currently at $9,933.

Go, go, go!
Burra, I know!!!

It's been an amazing 24 hours!!!
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Congratulations Karl. I'm so happy that these are going to be produced.

Thank you Burra!

YES!!! 100% FUNDED!!!

Now that we have passed 100% I am going to sweeten the deal! I will add the original artwork from the Blackberries card to the raffle described on our web page www.FoodForestCardGame.com. Everyone who has contributed by the end of the campaign is eligible for the blackberry artwork, as are the folks who follow the "free tickets" rules outlined on our website. For those who contribute, or have done so, you get 1 virtual “ticket” for every dollar contributed.

If we can kick it up a notch, for every $5000 by which we exceed our final goal, I will add one more piece of original artwork to the raffle! The artwork is all in pencil, colors having been added on my computer. I will also include, with the winning artwork, a non-archival, high-resolution color printout of the artwork as it appears on the card.

Thanks again for all of your hard work in getting the word out! This has been an amazing process, and we honestly couldn't have done it without Permies.com!


Hello fantabulous friends and supporters!

The Food Forest card game Kickstarter is coming down to the wire. In other words, there are only 9 days left for you to pre-order a deck and to show your support for this great new educational card game! I am not sure how long it will take me to fulfill all of the Kickstarter orders. It may be as late as September before the cards are available to the non-backer public! I just don't know how long it will be!

Also, please remember that everyone who pledges by the end of the campaign is registered for a drawing for one of several pieces of original artwork! So far I have promised to raffle off the Daikon Radish, the Scarlet Runner Beans and the Blackberries artwork. If we make it to $15k, I'll include even more!

So check us out today and get your copy with the early crowd! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1436377496/food-forest-a-card-game-inspired-by-permaculture

And please share our link with your friends! Yes, we are fully funded but we still really need all the support we can get. This is not a cheap product to produce and every pledge truly helps!

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped out thus far!

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