I'm a noob to food forests. In fact, just heard about them this weekend, but they seem awesome. For context, I'm the founder of Ample Foods, a CPG meal replacement, amplemeal.com.
In the consumer packaged industry, there's a long and convoluted supply chain to get a mono crop food processed and into a packaged food. It's shitty, because of the environmental concerns with monocrop agriculture, the lack of transparency to the end consumer, and less healthy products in the long run. I want to change that, and was thinking about ways to vertically integrate the supply chain, but do it in a more sustainable and ideally economic way.
Thus, the crazy idea: would it be possible to create permaculture food forests at scale, to the point where they could supply the raw ingredient needs of my CPG food business?
We're currently doing 7 figures in annual revenue, and the goal would be to scale the farm as our business grows, and potentially sell any additional food to other CPG food companies trying to do the same thing if we have excess food.
Initially, I was thinking about partnering up with food forests that already exist, then over the course of the next several years, invest in making our own food forest to supply the raw ingredients to the end product.
If we could do this, I think it could be super big for the agriculture and food industries, because as a CPG food brand, we could help popularize the food forest concept amongst consumers, and challenge other food companies to do the same, so that we shift the industry from getting raw ingredients from monocrops to food forests over time.
To that end, I have several questions about the feasibility of this all.
1. How much yield do you actually get? I know, tricky question. depends on location and what's planted. I have a list of some of our ingredients below. As in, a quick google says you have to plant coconut trees 25 feet apart, so that's 70 trees per acre, yielding 6000 nuts per acre (assuming per year). But with multiple growth layers, would you have to spread those out, or likely just keep the same 25 foot separation and add to it with plants in lower levels?
2. How big can you make food forests? I see examples of individuals making them between 1-4 acres. Could you do it for a whole square mile or more?
3. If it does scale, what's the most likely limiting factor? Labor? Knowledge? Cost of seeds? Cost of land?
4. How many years would it take for this to start producing significant yield?
5. Are there examples of great farms to study from or visit to learn more?
And a few of our ingredients for context:
Whey protein (I'm very interested in regenerative agriculture using animals like cows to do this as well, and would hope to incorporate that)
Thank you very much for humoring my idea!