Living from a forest

Shutterstock/Peter Wollinga

In this beautiful article by a Kiwi living with his partner Asako in Japan, Dion suggests that:

As perennial forage systems forest gardens are horticultural, they have already left agriculture behind.

Their sufficiency is due in part to the diversity of species and a mimicry of naturally occurring ecosystems but this can be taken much further by adapting ourselves to our garden homes: if you want to eat an agricultural diet then you will continue to need agriculture!

Eating a diet that resembles that of our pre-agricultural ancestors makes feeding oneself from a forest garden that much easier.


UPADTE: Sept 2nd, 2014 – I have just completed a 30 day experiment of eating no grains or grain products (Wheat, Rice, Corn) and no legumes or legume based products (Beans of all kinds), I would concur that this is a very real alternative to relying on an industrial agriculture system, that I sense has had its day and will experience a significant decline in the coming years.

And to clarify this, I am not suggesting we are going to become wild, but sourcing more and more of our food from diverse, balanced, multi-layered eco-systems which focus on mostly perennial production and mimic the principles inherit in a forest, is worth striving for. If you want to learn more about this, do sign up for the news surrounding the Beyond Organic NZ Tour.


  1. says

    Thanks for pointing to forests as a DIRECT source of nutrition. I never thought this to be but a fringe effect. Indeed “diversity of species” is the real secret to getting enormous yields from the same acreage that normal mono-cultured farming and tilling can produce only a relative fraction of (and not without fertilizers – exactly because they first cut the self-fertilizing (!) forests down). Only this would require a complete 180 degree turn-around from intensive farming with large machinery. A thing that humankind may become ready for once oil becomes unaffordable.

  2. Jim says

    Agriculture doesn’t have and shouldn’t be industrialized in the first place.

    For centuries and before the so called “Green Revolution” cereal crops were issued from family farms where a perfect balance between land, forest and cattle made agriculture sustainable. With the increasing population in the world, the oil getting scarce, and environmental problems, it’s urgent to go back to traditional farming (including grain product and legumes).

    For more than 30 years, experiments all over the world have been conducted to transform traditional way of farming into even more sustainability and effectiveness using our never ending growing modern knowledge about life in the soils and crops. Techniques like “sowing under plant cover”, “hedgerows”, use of” Shoots Chipped Wood” have proven to be not only key to conservation farming but also viable in economic and social terms as well.

    This article while interesting and full of hope is in my opinion occluding the fact that solutions never come from a single direction.

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