Karl Treen

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since Nov 22, 2014
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Karl Treen is an avid perennial food gardener and a 2014 PDC graduate of Geoff Lawton's online PDC course.
For the past 4 years, Karl has taught adults and children about Permaculture and has developed an educational card game based on Permaculture Principles. It is called Food Forest and can be found here:
Instagram: @FoodForestCardGame
Providence, RI, USA
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Recent posts by Karl Treen

Thomas Elpel wrote:Thanks so much for all your support Jocelyn and Karl!

You bet, Tom. So glad to see this project take off!

Best wishes,
4 weeks ago
Nicely done! I just signed up for the early bird special! Looking forward to seeing the game!
Best wishes,
4 weeks ago
Breaking News!

I have created a very affordable "Make Your Own Deck" PDF printout for teachers and anyone else who might want to use them to create custom Permaculture games and/or projects.

With the PDF, you can print infinite pages of blank cards and use a fine tip sharpie pen to customize them for your own plants!

Find out more here: http://bit.ly/ffcg_blanks or go to https://FoodForestCardGame.com

5 months ago
I'm going a little nuts making videos about the card games right now. I'm launching the videos first on Instagram. Follow me there, using the link below, to see the latest and greatest. These are all designed to be "bite-size", partly because IG doesn't allow more than 60 seconds in the regular feed, and partly because I really want to keep things short, so to give you the most value for your time. If I move too fast, simply repeat the video until it's clear.

Click http://bit.ly/ffcg_ig to follow me on Instagram.
Click http://bit.ly/FFCGCards to visit the website and gift shop!

This "unboxing" video is the first in the series. I've already launched the next video, instructions for playing "Picklet", on Instagram!

Enjoy! :)

5 months ago
I'm sure someone has already addressed my points, but I have read a few posts and didn't find them made. So please forgive me for repeating something that has already been said.

The question was: "is anyone really doing Permaculture? Does it really work."
My answer is: Yes, and yes. But how well it works depends on the quality of one's observations as well as the skillfulness of the designer who must interpret the observations and apply solutions based on the observed challenges and opportunities.

To say that Permaculture doesn't work is, literally, to say "careful observation and planning are a waste of time." I don't think even the most jaded agribusiness farmer would agree with that statement.

First off, Permaculture is NOT farming. Permaculture is simply a design process based on careful observation, careful implementation, and attention to the laws of nature. Anyone who has read Mollison, Hemenway, or any other Permaculture designer worth his salt, should understand this already. Bill Mollison encouraged people to apply the Permaculture design process to food production, yes, but he was always careful not to confuse Permaculture with farming. Farming can be based on Permaculture, like it can be based on chemicals and combines. But it is no more accurate to say that Permaculture is farming as it would be to say that chemicals and combines are farming. These are all merely tools that can be used in one's approach to farming, or gardening, or whatever else they might be helpful to do. You can use chemicals to create hospital supplies; you can use Permaculture to design an efficient kitchen. It is simply a design strategy.

Permaculture observations, from a garden designer's perspective, can be things like "my water runs this way when it rains; the sun shines here; the wind tends to blow in this direction during the winter; my kitchen garden is currently too far from my kitchen" and so forth. This is all useful information. Have you ever seen a kitchen garden far away from a kitchen? I sure have - and a Permaculture designer would probably try to move it closer, depending on other natural forces she observed. To say "Permaculture doesn't work" is basically the same thing as saying "I observed the sun shining from this direction. I built my gardens factoring in that observation, but now I observe that it shines from the other direction entirely." In other words, Permaculture is only as good as the observing designer.

Are there designers who don't know the difference between a squash vine borer and a tomato hornworm? Absolutely! And sometimes mistakes are just part of the learning process. Due to a fairly lenient certification process, Permaculture practitioners are often still learning about the practical realities of plants. That said, I have observed Permaculture applied to garden design very successfully. Is anyone I know making lots of money from their gardens? Nope. Are they raising more nutritious, organic food than if they had entirely winged it with no design strategy at all? Yes, certainly, no question about it!
5 months ago
Hello friends!

I just posted a video of me digging out a squash vine borer, the bane of the squash farmer's existence! Hope it's helpful!

6 months ago
Hello Friends!

Check out this cool video flashback to 2016, when I was still drawing the cards!

6 months ago

Please vote! I'm building a new backyard food forest - on the cheap this time! I'm doing a lot of plant sharing online and posting my process on social media. I'm not sure this forum is really the spot to add daily updates about it. What do you think?

Should I:

1. Keep you all updated here
2. Create a new forum to discuss it
3. Just leave it on Instagram and Facebook

btw, if you want to see all of my updates thus far on one of these platforms, here are the addresses:

Food Forest on Instagram
Food Forest on Facebook
7 months ago
A Downunder PDF Version of the Food Forest Card Game is NOW AVAILABLE!

Hello friends!

It's been a long time coming, and entirely due to my own stupidity!

At print time I realized that I couldn't afford to run a Southern hemisphere version right away (or translations or even a few photocopies, for that matter). But it has always been my hope to make the Food Forest deck accessible, and sensible, to everyone. Still, money is a factor when it comes to printers, so it just didn't happen.

Then I created my PDF version - and we started working on translations. Now you would THINK that it would have clicked in at that point... but it still seemed to me that I was going to have to rotate the compass directions on every one of the cards to make it make sense in Australia, and that's a lot of work!

It was only today that I realized how to do it. And it was SIMPLE! A picture will be worth a thousand words here:

Northern Hemisphere version:

Southern Hemisphere version:

Holy cow! Why did this take me so long And there are only about 7 designs that were affected.

Anyhow, I am sorry I made all of my Australian friends wait so long for my brain to kick in! I still can't afford to print these up for the physical decks, but anyone from Downunder who has already purchased anything from me (either PDF or otherwise) is entitled to this PDF version. Simple contact me at
so I can email you the link!

Also, please don't forget to visit the Food Forest Card Game web page from time to time to check what we're up to. We appreciate the support!


9 months ago
Sharing for my buddy Matt Powers.
This guy works so hard to bring education and positive energy to the Permaculture community!

11 months ago