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r ranson
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Is there a difference between a forest garden and a food forest?

What is the smallest space one can have a forest garden or food forest? 
 
Shalom Eigenheimer
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Off the top of my head I would say the difference is how dense the canopy is.

I suppose somewhere around 2-3 sq m/yd.
 
Kyle Neath
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I've always interpreted forest garden to mean a garden in a forest setting (mostly thinking shade and fungal-dominated soils), while a food forest is a garden designed around canopy layers.
 
Wes Hunter
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Right or wrong, I've always conceived of a forest garden as a manmade entity, designed and planted from the ground up, starting with a more-or-less blank canvas.  And I've always conceived of a forest garden as a retrofit, an adaptation of a forest (probably more properly "woodlot") into a more intentionally food-producing area.

As for size, I'd think the term "forest," while perhaps not quite accurate, would suggest moderate size.  That's all relative, of course, but I'll just guesstimate 1/8 acre or more.  If less than that, I'd say it's not a forest garden but some trees with other plants around them.
 
r ranson
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These are interesting things to think about.

Do you have examples of your own forest gardens or food forests? 

What books do you recommend on the topic?  I'm looking for something I can get from the library and leave scattered around the house to entice the others into imagining it was their idea in the first place.
 
Wes Hunter
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This is more idea than current practice.  We have a woodlot of about 8 acres (totaling perhaps 25 acres when you include the neighbor's property).  Primarily oaks (mostly white), some hickories, eastern red cedar, and other scattered species.  Along the edge of one pasture are a number of black walnuts and quite a few sassafras.  Growing throughout the woodlot are wild gooseberries and black raspberries, among other brush and brambles.

If I were to turn this into a "food forest," I would either plant more productive gooseberries, or graft cuttings onto wild rootstock.  I'd also plant cultivated raspberries.  I'd graft cultivated grapes onto wild grape rootstock.  I'd start some mushroom logs in the shade.  Perhaps I'd plant cultivated hickories in places.  I'd probably plant apples and peaches as understory trees.  I'd thin most of the red cedars, and a few others besides.

By doing all that, I think it'd be fair to say that I had converted a "forest" (really a woodlot) into a "food forest."  To be fair, there are plenty of food-producing species already in place: oaks (acorns), black walnuts, hickory nuts, gooseberries and raspberries, wild mushrooms, sassafras (for tea), spicebush, pawpaws (that have fruited once in 5 years), at least one feral peach sapling, and plenty other more obscure things.  But in my mind this being a "food forest" would indicate/require a certain level of management and intent that is currently lacking.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacre,  How To Grow a Food Forest by Christopher Shien,  Secret Garden of Survival by Rick Austin  These are great books for discovery.


When it comes to differences between food forest and forest garden, it is all about size and did you work within the boundaries of what was already there.

Redhawk
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I think that in permaculture, there is perhaps a gray area with the definitions of these.  I see the terms, though, as being quite distinct, but also blurry.

On my property I have a forest, that is naturally regeneration after two forest fires, and some selective cutting since.  It is surrounded on two sides by much of the same, extending up a mountain into crown land with decreasing disturbance as it heads toward a wild section of Jasper National Park.  So it's basically wilderness.  This year I have planted cedars in this forested part of the property, and I plan to plant many more next year, but these are not food, and neither are the hemlocks, white pines, or larches that I plan to plant with more cedars next year.  As far as food goes, I'm also planning next year to plant, in the deciduous groves, saskatoons, ash, elders, and wild cherries.  I'm hoping not so much for a berry harvest from these but to increase the diversity of species, including the insects and birds that associate with these natives.  This is my forest garden, and although it is proximal to my food forest and garden, and it's added diversity will certainly benefit the food forest and the garden, it is a somewhat separate entity (as much as we can separate everything in the oneness that is the Earth or the Universe).  Primarily in the forest garden, the forest makes the decisions, though I could force a great deal of control over it, if I choose to, such as utilizing the dead pine for fire wood.

My food forest, is a place where I make more of the decisions.  It is a place on the edge of my meadow where the forest mingles and merges.  It is already a place of great diversity due to the edge effect, but I am planting trees, shrubs and whatnot in it, in order to further the diversity, and to enhance food production.  While there presently exists spruce, fir, pine, red dogwood, willow, birch, alder, cottonwood, poplar, elder, wild cherry, thimbleberry, saskatoons, wild raspberries etc, I will likely be removing some of the non-fruit bearing species after they have nursed things like plums, apples, cherries, and pears, while keeping the diversity.  The removal of any given element might be over many years in the form of a slow chop and drop adventure.  Here I do the mulching at least in the early stages, and make the decisions to effect the systems that are constantly changing.

I don't think that there is too large of a forest garden, but to think of it in terms of small, I would think that a forest is something that contains a diversity of species.  A single tree does not make a forest, nor does a group of trees without other species.  In order to have a forest, I would say that you have to have several to many trees, and you have to have species which thrive in the understory of those trees.  The size that it would take to make this a forest would depend on the types of trees that you have in the first place.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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The size that it would take to make this a forest would depend on the types of trees that you have in the first place.
  To further that, I would add an example of say a food forest that had a couple of chestnuts as it's overstory.  These trees, because of their large size and spreading crowns at maturity would need more space than say a food forest that had as it's canopy a cherry and apple and a pear.  These just mentioned fruit trees could be part of an supplementary canopy under or around the edges of the aforementioned chestnuts, thus increasing the levels and diversity, or they could be seen as completely separate types of systems that could both be described as food forests.  With the chestnuts, you might need to plant them far enough apart so that there is adequate light underneath them to support other species.  The size of the forest would also depend on how much space you wanted in between the tree's crowns (do you want them to touch, or to intertwine, or do you want the just mentioned light) and / or how many species and of what size you want in between.  I would say that a forest that only has a few trees might still be considered a forest if it also contained many shrubs as well as at least a few ground cover species, root type crops, and herbaceous plants; such that it is a layered and diverse system.  In my region vines are rare, so I omitted this layer in this description, but they should be included if you can, or are so inclined.

While I could conceive of a forest with a single tree (and that tree could be a dwarf graft), it would have to contain an extremely rich diversity in layers of interactive species both surrounding it and beneath it.  Though if this was my project, I would most likely not call it a forest, but a guild grove, but that is just me.  For the most part, I would say that a forest would have more than one tree, and probably more that a few.   

I think that if, at maturity, the species in a group are mutually beneficial and are self regulating, then they become a forest, anything less than that is not.   I think the goal should be at least to head towards self regulation in a forest garden, but in a food forest there will always be a degree of human manipulation/work.     
 
Wes Hunter
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:While I could conceive of a forest with a single tree (and that tree could be a dwarf graft), it would have to contain an extremely rich diversity in layers of interactive species both surrounding it and beneath it.  Though if this was my project, I would most likely not call it a forest, but a guild grove, but that is just me.  For the most part, I would say that a forest would have more than one tree, and probably more that a few.   


I think this is perfectly reasonable.  Words have meaning, after all, and "forest" is a word.

If you have a single tomato plant in a pot, do you have a garden?  No, you have a tomato plant in a pot.

If you have a cow and two acres, do you have a ranch?  No, you have a cow and two acres.

If you have a single tree and a bunch of understory crops, do you have a forest garden?  No, you have a single tree and a bunch of understory crops.

There is nothing wrong with any of those things, but they don't need to be called something aspirational to give them worth.

On a more practical note, there's a podcast called Sustainable World Radio, and I'm right now in the middle of listening to an episode on food forests.  Maybe, r ranson, you can just happen to leave it playing (on repeat, perhaps?) in the vicinity of others...
 
Burra Maluca
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r ranson wrote:What books do you recommend on the topic?  I'm looking for something I can get from the library and leave scattered around the house to entice the others into imagining it was their idea in the first place.


For tempting other people, I think Forest Gardening In Practice by Tomas Remiarz is really good.  Full colour, loads of photos, enough 'how to' to start you off and then loads of real-world examples of people and communities who have put it into practice in ways to suit themselves.  Very, very inspirational.  Some of the other books might be a bit too academic, or give the impression that there is a one 'proper' way to do things, which might put people off a little, but this one is very, very inspiring and leaves you imagining ways you could design one to meet the needs of our own family or community. 

 
Abbey Battle
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Agroforestry Research Trust

Martin Crawford has grown a food forest - or wood (as it's not a traditional English forest) on a 2 acre site in Dartington, (Devon, England), since 1992. This is more of an experimental and research site, rather than being optimally productive.
His book is entitled 'Creating a Forest Garden. (working with nature to grow edible crops).

Quotes: (copyright for educational purposes).
"A forest garden is a garden modelled on the structure of young natural woodland, utilising plants of direct and indirect benefit to people – often edible plants. It may contain large trees, small trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, annuals, root crops and climbers, all planted in such a way as to maximise positive interactions and minimise negative interactions, with fertility maintained largely or wholly by the plants themselves."

I have visited food forests on sites that have been less than an acre or even less than half an acre. I have seen very open food forests with only a couple of trees, to very tree heavy ones. Part of this is dependant on light levels. Here in England, light is poor so any canopy, however thin, can create dense shade under which nothing will grow. (esp if you are on the N. side of a hill. You may see no winter sun.
 
Todd Parr
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Personally, I don't believe there is a difference, and the two terms can be used interchangeably.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Personally, I don't believe there is a difference, and the two terms can be used interchangeably.
I personally do not think that there needs to be a difference between them, at this time.  I'm sure that a person who is creating a food forest, and he is writing a thread about it, will be going into enough detail that the reader can draw her own conclusions. 

Since the terms are used pretty much in regard to permaculture, we are the ones who should create any distinction, if there should be one.  If there was some kind of consensus about there being an actual difference, it might be a good idea to make the distinction clear, early on, to avoid any confusion.

One of the crappy things about making that distinction, is similar to the one where someone writes "well that isn't permaculture."  and the thread devolves into a debate as to what exactly is permaculture, instead of debating the merits of the project.   
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Great point Roberto, most of the people I know that have built these call their projects one or the other but when you go walk through with them, they all seem very similar.

I know one fellow that has 25 acres of forest on his land, he has been making additions to this plot for the last 20 years. And it is very nice now.
His "food forest" starts in the transition space with vegetables intermixed with berry bushes and cane fruits.
As you walk further towards the woods the plants are intermingled with low trees and shrubs that turn into taller trees (fruits and nut trees) and the area that mixes with the oaks and hickory trees is where you run into his pecan trees.
Since he is a survivalist type, about the only way to know what your walking into is the more garden like space that is three sisters type plantings.
You will see the odd hickory at the edge with grape and muskadine vines running up to the sunlight, at the base area you will find blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries are deeper into the dappled shade spaces.
Once you are near the canopy of the forest you start to notice the trees there are mostly fruit bearing trees and nut trees living together.
If you go deeper you find a permanent stream with mulberry and paw paw trees along the banks and back towards the canopy area.

I tend to think of the whole of his land not individual spaces, and I would call it a food garden or forest garden, it is a whole system that provides wood for fuel and building needs and then food and wood for spectacular flutes.

Redhawk
 
Todd Parr
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Great point Roberto, most of the people I know that have built these call their projects one or the other but when you go walk through with them, they all seem very similar.

Redhawk


Redhawk, that has been my experience as well, and is largely the reason I think the terms can be used interchangeably.  No matter which term a person uses, they are doing basically the same thing in practice.  There are obvious differences initially depending on whether a person started with an actual forest, a pasture, a garden, or an old parking lot.  The end goal to me is the same, but every project will be somewhat different depending on the person's vision and that is one of the things I love about this.  Your truth is not my truth, is not Roberto's truth, is not Martin's truth, but the picture in each of our heads is the truth. 
 
r ranson
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I'm really glad they are interchangeable, at least in the vernacular.  I was thinking a forest garden would have to be more maintained with paths and clumps of trees and understory here and there, and a food forest would have to be totally wild food and foresty plants.  I want something in-between those extremes. 

This is why I'm asking about these.  We have 1/16 of an acre that won't grow annuals.  But I KNOW there's deep water in the ground because Big Leaf Maple, Blackberries and other moisture-loving perennial weeds grow next to it.  The drainage is just too good for anything with roots less than a meter deep.  I've convinced the family that we could plant food trees there.  My theory is by having trees with deep roots to hold and shade the soil, we could grow other food perennials around them.  I was thinking to start with alternating rows (because it's easier to see where everything is in rows) every 5 feet of nut trees and Siberian pea shrub.  When the trees are big enough, cut down most of the pea shrubs and start planting different understory plants. 

The hitch is, the family are telling me that nut trees do better if they are all the same together.  I would much rather have a variety of nut and fruit trees, two of every kind, there.  They don't quite know about my plans for understory plants. 

I don't really know how a food forest or forest garden works.  But it sounds good.  My first step is to go to the library.  Only, I got confused by the different terms.  Now I have some awesome books to look up.  Thank you for the recommendations.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Sounds like a good plan R., The thing about nut trees is that they do best in groups of 3 or more, probably because most tend to have male dominant and female dominant (if not out right make and female trees).

For the space you are describing, think of rainforest soil for building the model.

Rain forest soil is very poor and usually drains quickly.
In the places where these forest are removed to make farming land, the soil doesn't produce much after two years, this is because the soil is not nutrient rich, it was the forest fall (leaves, twigs, etc.) that held the nutrients, once those trees were taken, the soil depletes quickly into dirt.
For your quick draining area, the same will hold true for moisture availability as well as nutrients, trees will be key to get things started and keep them going, understory can be what you want once that tree base is going well.

Redhawk
 
r ranson
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Funny thing.  The first book from the library sometimes uses the phrase "food forest garden" to describe things.  Just when I thought I was starting to understand what it all meant. 
 
Bryant RedHawk
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LOL, I think we can blame that on the English language misuse that is apparently running rampant in this age.
 
William Wallace
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Food forests can be created outside of a forest, while a forest garden is created inside an existing forest. Food forest is more artificial, like calling an orchard a forest. You can surely plant an orchard on a forest, but orchards don't typically create forests
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Food forests can be created outside of a forest, while a forest garden is created inside an existing forest. Food forest is more artificial, like calling an orchard a forest. You can surely plant an orchard on a forest, but orchards don't typically create forests
  While this makes sense, and I can agree with it for the most part (in part this is what my original post in this thread stated), I would add that, while orchards do not typically create forests in the conventional world, the goal of permaculturalists might be to create forests through enhanced ecological orchard techniques (improving both the landscape and the biomass water storage potential, layering plants three dimensionally, building guilds, stacking functions when choosing plants, etc), and that this is what a food forest is, or what a forest garden might be in some people's terminology.  The goal in this regard is not to create a 'natural' forest, but to create a forest that Acts Naturally, in that it is self enhancing, has little to no maintenance  in order to function efficiently, and is potentially also self regenerating in time(as it continues to build and grow). 

Creating a natural forest, on the other hand would be done by using permacultural design and techniques to both stop erosive forces while at the same time help with retention of water and nutrients.  These will enhance the natural regeneration of it's plant, animal and fungal species on it's own through a series of ecological successions that happen in part because of the stopping of erosive forces and in part through the enhancement of life sustaining (water and nutrient) systems.

It would only be through many people creating such food forests, (which mimic and act like natural forests) within a given very small local area, that an actual forest garden might have a chance to take hold, synergisticly as these independent systems play off of one another.  This is a guess of mine sort of based on meditating upon Robert Hart's work in inspiring the forest garden movement, and Alan Savory's description of fragile systems.  So, if for instance, geoff lawton was given free reign in the rest of Jordan, then it is his system which would become the forest (though in the more distant future many species from Africa, Asia, and Europe would invade the enhanced ecosystem that he created and make it their own and it would not look anything like what Geoff intended originally). 

This would be more likely to happen in a degraded environment (fragile desertified, degraded area)  where these food forest systems are the most advanced (water containing, microbiologically diverse) ecosystems in the area. 

Where I live, on the other hand, where nature is still primary (my land backs onto mostly untouched wilderness on two sides), the process would be the opposite.  Despite many man made intrusions into it in the valley and beyond, the native forest--still vastly more diverse and robust than anything humans have created--would consume my project and all of the man made structures probably within a century and certainly within 3 if left to it's own devices.   I doubt that apples, chestnuts, and cherries, walnuts, plums and apricots, filberts, barley, oats, alfalfa, hay or cows or chickens or highways and barns would stand a chance against cedars and firs, and pines, and willows, and poplars and birch, if nobody was maintaining the former domesticated ape groups. 

This is not true of many more fragile locations.  The desert of Jordan where Geoff has his project is too fragile.  The ecosystem has been broken, and it did not have enough consistent rainfall and thus needs help to regenerate.  Now it has a chance because of his work. 

In the end, if we were to create enough forest gardens in fragile environments like Jordan or the Sahara they would no longer be fragile but robust water and nutrient holding systems which are invaded by and utterly overcome by species that the Earth throws at it, and as such future generations might have to beat back nature in order to have food forests exist, and we will be back to eden again.  Hopefully our descendants have learned from the mistakes of civilization and humanity will not get back into clearcuts and mass exploitation/degradation again. 

I probably got a bit tangential here, but I've had a few glasses of 10 year old Transylvanian wine.  If you've gotten this far, then... thank you.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I know one fellow that has 25 acres of forest on his land, he has been making additions to this plot for the last 20 years. And it is very nice now.
His "food forest" starts in the transition space with vegetables intermixed with berry bushes and cane fruits.
As you walk further towards the woods the plants are intermingled with low trees and shrubs that turn into taller trees (fruits and nut trees) and the area that mixes with the oaks and hickory trees is where you run into his pecan trees.
Since he is a survivalist type, about the only way to know what your walking into is the more garden like space that is three sisters type plantings.
You will see the odd hickory at the edge with grape and muskadine vines running up to the sunlight, at the base area you will find blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries are deeper into the dappled shade spaces.
Once you are near the canopy of the forest you start to notice the trees there are mostly fruit bearing trees and nut trees living together.
If you go deeper you find a permanent stream with mulberry and paw paw trees along the banks and back towards the canopy area.

I tend to think of the whole of his land not individual spaces, and I would call it a food garden or forest garden, it is a whole system that provides wood for fuel and building needs and then food and wood for spectacular flutes.

Redhawk, if this chap is near to you, would it be possible perhaps for you to do a video of his project (anonymously to protect his survivalist self), and post it here.  It sounds fascinating, and might be great to further share a project that is 20 years in the building.  Just a thought.  
 
William Wallace
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Roberto, your explanation mimics my understanding of a food forest. This is a forest that is made, where a forest garden pus a garden created in a forest, and not the forest being created.   I wouldn't ever label a created orchard as a forest garden, because you're not creating a garden in the forest, but rather a forest where a garden use to be. Some may think these are interchangeable, but I feel that the terms have significant difference.

Is salt water the same as water with salt? The terms can be used interchangeably, but actual salt water of the ocean is similar to a forest garden, where water plus salt is closer to a good forest. It's created, and not exactly salt water. There will generally be some things missing in the created environment. 

In my opinion a good forest is more garden, and a forest garden is more forest.  If you disagree with this, it's not a big deal and is just varying opinions. However the more concise our terminology can be, the more effective communication we can have as a community. Without terminology, hydroponics would be talked as flooding ones plants.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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However the more concise our terminology can be, the more effective communication we can have as a community.
  I can definitely agree with the need for good communication.
Food forests can be created outside of a forest, while a forest garden is created inside an existing forest. 
So if I grew some potatoes in my forest on my property then I would have a forest garden?    Does it matter what I grow in a forest garden?  Or does it matter how I grow it?  Can I till in a forest garden?  Can I put boxes in the trees?  Can I irrigate?  How much can I manipulate the forest in order to create my garden?  Or is a forest garden simply a food forest that is created in an existing forest?  It seems like there is potentially some gray area in your definition, or is it just how I am reading it?  I'm certainly not beyond thinking the latter is true, but at this point your definition is not clear to me.  

I personally don't know any people who are growing an annual garden in the forest; the shade and the dense root systems are major deterring factors for many crop plants.  Even most food bearing perennials would not do well in such as setting.  Are there any examples of forest gardens that you can point to so that we can more easily come to a consensus with these terms?  I think those might be necessary.  If we are going to define terms so that we can communicate effectively as a community, then we need to come to a consensus about precisely what those terms mean with concrete examples.
If you disagree with this, it's not a big deal and is just varying opinions. 
It would be a big deal if we are to be adamant about creating concise terminology, would it not?  How can we effectively communicate if we disagree on the terms?  I don't mean to be obtuse, but I'm trying to make what I think is a pretty valid point:  I think that we would have to agree if we are going to be concise with our terminology.   It seems clear by what has emerged in this thread so far that a consensus has not been reached thus far, and may in fact be difficult to achieve.  I could be very wrong, but I'm not sure that any serious harm has come from people using these two terms somewhat interchangeably to date.

 
William Wallace
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Saying that we have to be concise isn't the point in my opinion, because the world will always use the terms interchangeably, even is we agree that they each mean a specific thing.

You can't make a firm decision for the future when part of the choice is personal opinion. Let's take the last described 20 acre plot of land that he's been adding to. I could make the case that this is the forest garden, and someone else could say food forest. Who is right, and does it matter?

If we were to make a stance, it would be a factor of what state the 20 acres was in before the major changes. It sounds like he planted food in a forest, and I would call it a forest garden. I would also propose that the majority of the worlds forests grow human edible food, so the term food forest should apply more to human planted edibles.

 
Todd Parr
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William Wallace wrote:Saying that we have to be concise isn't the point in my opinion, because the world will always use the terms interchangeably, even is we agree that they each mean a specific thing.



That sums up my thoughts on the matter.  A handful of people on a forum can decide whatever they like, but eventually a consensus will come about, and the terms will come to have an exact meaning.  In this case, I think they will always be used interchangeably, but who can say?  We can decide facial tissue is the correct term, but if the world keeps using kleenex ...
 
Wes Hunter
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Maybe this forum should be renamed "Areas that produce food and that have some trees and which are at least partially the active work of human hands."  That's a catch-all phrase, right?

To add a further bit of complexity, I would suggest that a "food forest" (i.e. an existing forest/woodlot that is managed to produce food) doesn't have to contain anything that a human intentionally planted.  If I manage my own woodlot by cutting down certain trees to allow the feral peaches more light and air, by grazing my cows in such a way that they keep the ground around the wild gooseberries effectively mowed, by ensuring there is ample dead and decaying wood for the proliferation of wild mushrooms, am I not managing a "food forest", despite my near-total absence?  Does creation require introduction?
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Saying that we have to be concise isn't the point in my opinion, because the world will always use the terms interchangeably, even is we agree that they each mean a specific thing.
  Then I'm not sure what the last part of this discussion is about.  Because it seemed that that was what you were going for:  a Concise definition of the terms based on your idea of what a forest garden is or isn't.  I actually like your idea of what these definitions could be, but I'm not sure there is a point if not everybody else is agreeing with it.  If someone brings up that they have a forest garden and another person doesn't think that it qualifies as a forest garden, and if a person wanted to argue the point, it would mean that the need for being concise on how the terms were defined does indeed matter.  I was playing devil's advocate.  I personally don't see the point of the argument of what the garden is, or what it is called.  If the project is being shared and the owner uses this or that term, I could care less.  The fact that the project is being shared opens up real discussion based on the ideas/merits of the individual project.  I didn't bring up the word concise because I wanted it to be the focus of the discussion, but because it was in the quote from you, William, in regards to how you seemed to see the need in the matter.  What someone else calls their food forest garden, means little to me.  It could be called a food forest or forest garden or a food forest garden, or a garden forest, for all I care, (they will all get my attention) so long as the person writing in the thread is sharing details that I might find pertinent in my own designs.  

If I manage my own woodlot by cutting down certain trees to allow the feral peaches more light and air, by grazing my cows in such a way that they keep the ground around the wild gooseberries effectively mowed, by ensuring there is ample dead and decaying wood for the proliferation of wild mushrooms, am I not managing a "food forest", despite my near-total absence?  Does creation require introduction?
Good points made.  One could discuss the introduction of cows, or the import of decaying wood, or the manipulation of the canopy, as human involvement.  While not introducing plants, you are introducing much with such management, cow manure and urine, trampling, extra biomass, light and a breeze.  Management of the forest is not near total absence, in my opinion, and would likely be quite obvious to the keen observer.  The ideas that I've read behind most food forests is to create a system where, in the end, very little work needs to be done one way or the other, and hopefully the forest would plant itself in some future time.  I like your ideas of forest management towards food production in this example.  Great images.  Lucky you to have feral peaches.  I can't even grow peaches in my zone without serious microclimate work.
 
John Saltveit
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I use the term "food forest" for my land. It is .2 acre.  I call it a food forest because it is a forest that I created for food. Previously, it was lawn with maybe 5 total woody plants on it.  I like the idea that someone was saying that it mimics a natural forest, but is oriented toward food. I have maybe 50 trees, 30 berry bushes, and innumerable forb plants, many of which are intentional weeds and herbs. The trees are intensely grafted due to limited space. The traditional plant by seed intentional vegies are mostly in raised beds, which are toward the south in the low part of the land.   All the plants are balanced spatially and  botanically by families like a natural forest would be.  I think of a forest garden as putting as much garden as you like into a forest. 
John S
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Ray Henry
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Forest Gardening: mimicking the structure and function of forests in the way we garden or using the forest as a model for the way we garden.
Forest Farming: the intentional cultivation of non-timber forest crops underneath the established canopy of an existing forest.
 
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