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Summary

A forest garden is a place where nature and people meet halfway, between the canopy of trees and the soil underfoot. It doesn’t have to look like a forest – what’s important is that natural processes are allowed to unfold, to the benefit of plants, people and other creatures. The result is an edible ecosystem.

For three decades experimental forest gardens have been planted in temperate cities and rural sites, in households, neighbourhoods, community gardens, parks, market gardens and plant nurseries. Forest Gardening In Practice is the first indepth review of forest gardening with living, best practice examples. It highlights the four core skills of forest gardeners: ecology, horticulture, design, cooperation.

It is for hobby gardeners, smallholders, community gardeners and landscape professionals.

Forest Gardening In Practice features:
* A history of forest gardening
* Step-by-step guide to creating your own edible ecosystem
* 14 in-depth case studies of established forest gardens and edible landscapes in Europe and the USA.
* Chapters on integrating animals, learning, enterprises, working in community and public settings.

Where to get it?

Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
amazon.co.uk
Permanent Publications
Barnes & Noble

Related Videos






Related Podcasts

The Largest Review of Temperate Forest Gardens with Tomas Remiarz

Related Threads

Two questions about forest gardens and food forests
Food Forest Examples
https://permies.com/t/74182/Fruit-tree-guilds-edible-companion
food forest living web infographic

Related Websites

Real Life Forest Gardens--Tomas' webpage
Tomas's facebook page
Tomas's page at the Permaculture Association


About the author

Tomas Remiarz has been involved in creating and maintaining forest gardens across the UK and Europe for nearly 20 years. He is currently involved in a sustainable rural housing project project on a 7-acre site in Herefordshire. As a founder member of the Permaculture Association’s research advisory board he is particularly interested in studying polycultures and has produced several reports on the subject.

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Posts: 15
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Added to my reading list!
 
steward
Posts: 802
Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns

review published on permaculture magazine International n. 91

Forest Gardening in practice is a book that comes out at the right time. We have many titles on forest gardening but this book changes our perspective on the subject. It has been written by Tomas Remiarz a known permaculture teacher and consultant, that has worked for the past twenty years in the UK and Europe.

Up till now we have read books that share a deep understanding of how plants interact. Forest gardening for many is mimicking natural ecosystems at its height, yes, but it is more than that if we take the discussion a step forward focusing on the interaction between plants and people.

“Gardens are nothing without the people who make, tend and use them. Each garden is an interpretation of what’s possible on a particular patch of land, filtered through the needs and desires of those who are working with it. This is part of the social dimension to forest gardens that so far has not featured much in the literature on the subject”

And this is what Tomas Remiarz has done in his book.

We are now thirty years from when Robert Hart defined our current concept of forest gardening. These thirty years give us the opportunity to look at what has worked and what has not in forest garden design, we have sites that have evolved for the past twenty or more years and share a story. The story is not only that of the succession of plants and growth of the canopy. No, it is the story of the people that started those projects, what led their original design and how this evolved, changed in time, and how in some cases they passed their forest gardens on to others. These thirty years give us the opportunity to see how communities have worked and work in shared spaces, how groups interact in the maintenance of sites, how people learn skills and learn to share them. These thirty years share the errors and frustrations people have encountered.

Plants and people interact not only on the yield-harvesting level, there is more to our relation even within designed natural ecosystems and the author shows it to us.

Tomas looking back at the past thirty years shares more than fifteen case studies in different climates, with different sizes and settings, from backyards, to educational, commercial or public settings. Each case study is a chapter by itself, and the author shares a lot of information on every project. But even specific aspects are discussed in thematic chapters. This is the central section of the book.

The book is divided in four sections. The first sets the context of forest gardening, how it evolved and how it relates to other fields as agroforestry and. Section two takes the reader down a walk in Nature understanding how it works and what is helpful for design. Then there is section three that as said is the core of the book. Section four is a step by step guide to laying out an edible ecosystem, but it is not only focused on the first theoretical stage of the work but even on the practical planting phase and its maintenance or dealing with problems.

This book takes our knowledge on forest gardening a step forward. It is great to read at the same time sharing real research data along with personal stories of the designers and stewards of the forest gardens recalled. Tomas has a way of writing that is friendly and informative, his way of describing some sites he visited is so descriptive the reader can actually see them, create an image from text, but there is more, there are all the photos. The visual side of this book is very strong. Tomas shares his work with a collection of exceptional photos, their colour and beauty inspires.

This is not the usual book on forest gardening, describing only layout patterns or listing plants, this is a book that will take the understanding of forest gardening to a social level.
 
Author
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Location: Herefordshire, England, UK
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If you are interested in the results of my forest garden baseline survey, I have posted a report on my website (https://reallifeforestgardens.com/resources). On the same page you can also find the interim reports of the 10-year forest garden trials we are doing with the Permaculture Association UK, and a few presentations I've given on the subject. Happy brwsing, and drop me a line if you're interested in what I'm doing.
 
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HI Tomas;
From sites you visited, which would be the top 3-5 places you would recommend people to try to visit for inspiration and gathering information/knowledge a great examples of forest gardens?
And are there any "top 3-5" you wished you had visited but couldn't, where you believe from info you received or were told was a really inspirational and great example of forest gardens??
Looking forward to reading this book!
Thks for your work!
 
Tomas Remiarz
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Hi Carlos,

That's a great and difficult question! How to choose - I've been to about 40 sites, talked to people from 30 more and surveyed well over a hundred. So much variety there, anything from 5 square metre back gardens to 100 acre commercial farms, to shools and parks and housing schemes.

Being in Amsterdam you're pretty close to Britain, so here are some places I'd call must-see on this island:
Garden Cottage, Graham Bell and Nancy WOodhead's 800 sqm garden in the Scottish Borders. They really have made an edible paradise over the last 25 years!
http://grahambell.org/the-red-shed-nursery/garden-cottage/

The roof garden of Reading International Solidarity Centre. An edible forest made of over 100 species from every continent except Antarctica, designed as a garden for global education
http://w3.risc.org.uk/gardens/roof-garden

And of course, Martin Crawford's place in Dartington, Devon
https://www.agroforestry.co.uk/

For publicly accessible forest gardens, my favourite is Leaf Street in Manchester.
https://www.redbricks.org/2010/08/03/leaf-st-community-garden/

Beyond Britain, a great commercial site is the Langerhorst Mischkultur Garten in Upper Austria - basically they invented their own take on forest gardening for themseves in the 1980s but called it a polyculture garden. You'll need to understand some German to get the best of this place!
http://www.gugerling.at/

And some  I haven't seen but would love to:

Balkan Ecology Project in Bulgaria
http://www.balkep.org/

The Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. Designed by "the" Dave Jacke together with Keith Zaltzber, it pushes beyond the forest metaphor to use any habitat type as a staring point for designing productive landscapes.
http://www.wellesley.edu/wcbg/our_gardens/edible_ecosystem_teaching_garden#C01TeJi7DQJbIhze.97

Stefan Sobkowiak's Permaculture Orchard near Montreal, Canada
http://miracle.farm/en/

Beacon Food Forest in Seattle
http://beaconfoodforest.org/

All of those places feature in my book, some of them with detailed case studies.

I am also aware that there is a lively food forest (voedselbos) scene in the Netherlands. I haven't seen any places myself but would love to find out more about them. Maybe you could be our explorer and let us know on this forum!

 
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I give this book 8.5 out of 10 acorns.
Tomas Remiarz is not just an ivory tower academic. He has been working in forest gardens and observing them for many years, mostly in Britain.  This book honors the forebears of food forest history and borrows ideas from them.  Remiarz looks into many of them and what they were trying to do.  There is some theory in here, but Remiarz acknowledges that most of that has been covered before. Most of the book focuses on examples of food forests in different location. What did they try to do in that specific climate? Where did they start from? What worked? What didn’t?
Remiarz lives in England, so most of the examples come from Britain.  There may be some terms that are unfamiliar to North Americans, such as tree onions and hedge garlic.  There are also examples of places in which you may not understand the specific climatological challenges if you can’t place Devon from Shropshire or Dorset. 
However, Remiarz explains the details of each site very well.  His writing style is clear.  He makes you want to go to each place and experience it.  The interaction of plants, weather and soil is intricately explained.  You can tell that he must be really great at running a forest garden in the way he explains the  interactions between plants, animals, and fungi.  He delves into some possible problems that can occur in forest gardens and interactions that are helpful as well as interesting.  He also expresses the joy that can come from people coming together in cooperative ways to establish and maintain a forest garden.  As a food forest owner myself, I not only enjoyed the book, but I also could have used it when I started mine. 
John S
PDX OR
 
Tomas Remiarz
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John Saltveit wrote:I give this book 8.5 out of 10 acorns.

There may be some terms that are unfamiliar to North Americans, such as tree onions and hedge garlic.  There are also examples of places in which you may not understand the specific climatological challenges if you can’t place Devon from Shropshire or Dorset. 
John S
PDX OR



Thank you for your kind words John. I'm glad you find this practice review useful and agree with your last sentence - it was the kind of book I would have liked to have access to when I first started out in forest gardening. There wasn't one 25 years ago, and when there still wasn't one five years ago I knew it was time to write it myself!

Point taken on the climatic information. Most British places described in the book would fall into USDA zones 8 and 9. Here is a map of Britain that shows the overall range. Now that the first edition of the book is almost sold out I will look into includng such a map in a future edition. https://www.gardenia.net/guide/hardiness-zones-in-the-united-kingdom

I was aware of the drawback of using common names to describe plants, but I decided that the benefit of readability for non-experts was more important to me. I did include an index listing both common and scientific names among the appendices to satisfy more advanced readers. The index also includes information on growth form, root patterns and edible parts.
 
John Saltveit
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It was also more fun to read than a "textbook" kind of food forest book.  By giving all the crucial information through actual successful forest gardens themselves as well, you can imagine how your forest garden will come alive through their transformations.  Great job.
John S
PDX OR
 
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Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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