I picked up the phone on Sunday night and had a most invigorating conversation with Robyn Guyton. After introducing myself, I asked her a couple of questions about the project she and Robert have been working on for over 15 years.
While humble and soft spoken, she was so forthcoming about the different aspects of their work, that I am sure I missed a few things, as I scribbled furiously, so it’s just as well there have been a few articles about them that I can refer you to:
Letters from New Zealand – on the Permaculture Research Institute website
Food forest puts Riverton couple on the map – Southland Times
Food Forest NZ – on Ooooby
And this wonderful recent video features Robert walking through and explaining different aspects of the forest.
But there was so much more I wanted to know.
I am of the opinion that growing food using the diverse range of perennial plants we have available to us offers solutions to many of today’s challenges. So the question that drives me every day, is how can we scale and mainstream public, private and commercial food forests so that they become abundant and the norm?
It was wonderful to hear from Robyn, that since the recent articles that have been published about them and their forest garden, they get about 5 phone calls a week from people asking if they can come and visit, and she told me they are currently mentoring over 20 people who are establishing their own food forests.
As well as this and the environment centre and store they run, they are moving around their region educating school children by day and the adult community by night and working on the Fruit Tree Project. As if this wasn’t enough they realise they now need to setup a nursery to propagate the many varieties of food plants (particularly berries) they now have established in their food forest garden.
While I might not have got my burning question answered, it is increasingly clear that there is a growing demand for the knowledge people like Robyn and Robert Guyton have, and we need to find ways to ensure that they are appropriately rewarded for sharing it, so that their effort is sustainable and can be carried to the increasing number of people who are hungry for it.
If you’re interested in finding out how you can become part of this exciting trend, then register now for the Food Forest Facts webinar.