In the title Food Forest U, you are the U. You will learn how to create food forests for yourself.
The U also stands for University. Unified-Biodiversity.
The Unified Biodiversity consisting of all biota in a food forest, grows ongoing food sources, medicines, supplies, and resources for people and biota.
Life on Earth is like attending a large university every day. Teachers and lessons surround us. We can choose to be students and learn lessons from our experiences and fellow earth-dwellers.
I share the lessons I have learned with you during the ten years I have been co-creating a food forest with my teachers, the ancient fruit and nut trees.
The trees varied from 15 – 110 years old and grew food and shelter for other lifeforms. Together with the rest of the flora, fauna, and fungi, they formed a living, breathing, food-growing community where everyone thrived.
Most impressive of all was that the trees were growing and multiplying themselves without human help and producing delicious fruits and nuts.
I fell in love with the garden and felt blissful gratitude for just being there, observing, and listening to the life around me. I could sense a spirit of peace among the trees, and whenever I spent time in it, profound truths, flashes of inspiration, and even ideas for solving problems would come to my mind.
I decided to add more nut and fruit trees. With lifespans that can go on for decades, they would produce food every year for my lifetime and beyond for future generations to enjoy.
With the food forest as my teacher, I became fascinated with observing and recording what I learned, and it turned out to be the most valuable class I’ve ever taken during my life on our beautiful planet.
I learned that Earth’s powerful biota grows in infinitely expanding fractal patterns that continue for generations and that our planet is a microcosm of the ever-expanding universe around us.
Sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees! But, by living in a food forest, I observed many species growing together, mutually benefitting each other and producing abundant, beautiful human resources.
The key is that the diverse biota all grow together to support and balance themselves. As a result, we get the many gifts of foods, medicines, and supplies growing freely around us.
Food forestry differs from the backyard gardening we learned in the USA since the 1960s. Then, in the age of chemical products for sale on TV, we learned to purchase products designed to kill our perceived enemies, the “weeds” and “pests,” which we fought year after year as we started over with a new garden every spring and ended with our fall harvest.
The lessons from Food Forest U offer everyone a chance to reimagine our gardens and create a better future for all beings living on Earth.
I like to imagine our future, where we are all proud of ourselves because we created food forests all over the planet that can heal the air and the water and provide food to all people and all life.
It will be much more fun, peaceful, and joyful to live on the planet as a cooperative community.
What’s the alternative? If we don’t change direction, we could destroy our planet’s healthy environment and end up ruining our future.
Earth is the place where we know for sure that we can survive and thrive.
We are here already, and we can learn to thrive by imitating and collaborating with natural forces.
In my first book, “Our Path to Infinite Abundance, Introduction to Food Forests,” I introduced readers to the concept of the infinite abundance of food forests and how once you get them started, they grow themselves for generations.
It’s awe-inspiring when you understand the many blessings that only Mother Earth can give. I call her Mother Earth because she gives birth to every lifeform and gives us everything we have.
This book about food forestry teaches you how to work in syntropy with the abundance of life instead of fighting with it.
So are you ready to get to work, walking step by step through the process of creating a food forest?
Let’s get started.
Would you please enter the class expecting to receive new information and insights from our teacher, the Creator?
You will sense the presence of the Great Spirit, the creator of all life.
That same life force that creates everything around us is also within us, keeping our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our cells growing.
When the Great Spirit departs from our bodies, it releases our material forms to decompose back to Earth’s essential components. And become incorporated into new life forms.
The Great Spirit goes by many names, including God, Qi, Chi, Energy, The All-One, Great Spirit, Creator, The Force, Holy Spirit, and others.
Here is your chance, dear student, to learn to use that powerful creative force to grow lasting sources of food and resources for yourself and future generations.
Beginning on day one in the class, you will observe and interact with a wide variety of living beings – many that you probably never knew existed!
You may be surprised as you observe nature’s beautiful patterns and how lifeforms perform the various services a forest community needs to succeed.
Once you understand how nature operates, you can begin to join in the creative process as a purposeful co-creator.
Here are some vocabulary words to get us all speaking the same language, and so we have some more words to use to communicate:
Plants, or flora, are likely the first intelligent living beings you will notice in a food forest. They will appear in all stages of their life cycles. Some will be tiny seeds or little sprouts that just popped up out of the soil, others will be the towering old trees that protect and cover us, and still others in many sizes and shapes in between, growing in patterns based on their species.
Investigating further, you find there’s more!
Animals, or fauna, thrive in food forests too.
The birds are favorites, as they brighten every day with their beautiful singing.
Insects, spiders, lizards, mice, squirrels, rabbits, possums, raccoons, snakes, and skunks live and work in the garden, along with unseen microbes in the soil and on the surfaces of everything.
If you think that sounds scary, then here’s your chance to change your thinking around the animal kingdom because each animal kingdom member performs an essential function. Their tasks are widely varied, and they get everything done!
Emanate positive energy when you walk through a food forest garden. With an open and friendly attitude, flora and fauna will sense that we help the community.
I put out the energy of love and gratitude, and I can often feel their gratitude back toward me for my efforts in co-creating this beautiful oasis.
They go about their own business as usual or hide.
You can speak to the creatures and tell them how beautiful they are and how glad you are that they are in the food forest. They seem to hear. The birds especially love to sing songs of joy and gratitude for the food forest.
Be kind at all times. If you try to catch or trap the animals, they may try to defend themselves by lashing out to hurt you out of fear. Appreciate the fauna from afar. Rarely will you need to touch them unless one needs help?
We have mentioned flora and fauna, and our third and most mysterious food forest members are members of the Fungi kingdom. Fungi (or funguses) is the plural noun for fungus. They are neither animal nor plant, but something in between.
We commonly see them as mushrooms, popping up above ground, but the exciting part about them is how they support the underground food forest.
They enrich the soil and help to help feed flora and fauna.
The fungi are mysterious, and we are still learning about them. I encourage you to study them. We need more information about everything, and this is a wide-open topic, just ready for exploring.
We know that they grow as networks of filaments in the soil and attach themselves to plants’ root systems, absorbing nutrients from the earth and passing them through their underground networks. They provide nutrients to the plants and receive carbohydrate energy from sunlight and photosynthesis that passes through the roots of trees.
Food foresters learn to appreciate and cooperate with all biota because each plays a vital role in sustaining the whole.
You will practice observing and recording useful findings, spend time wondering how things work, and imagine ways to create future trial experiments in your food forest laboratory.
For example, perhaps during an overnight frost, many of your plants froze. Then you observed that some plants that were growing next to taller plants survived the cold, while those standing alone froze. That is a helpful observation.
You can record it on video or write it down and take pictures. Either way, it helps you gain mastery. As you write, please do your best to communicate what you learned as a reference tool to help you remember it and use the information in the future.
Then give yourself time in the quiet, allowing your imagination to ponder why it happened and what you can do with that knowledge going forward.
Ask aloud if you like. Why did this happen? Then when you have an idea for a possible reason, like “I think the cold air was trapped and warmed by taller plants,” or “I think the plants standing alone in the cold had too much exposure, so they need protection from freezing temperatures.”
Add it to your notes or videos if need be, and then begin to experiment with the ideas.
Try planting other seedlings near the taller plants and seeing if it keeps them warmer during the next freeze. Or try planting many together to see if they can shelter each other.
Recording practical observations and experimenting like this will help you plan your successive plantings, and each season you will be more experienced and confident.
Once you have your tools for observing, recording, imagining, and creating future trial experiments, in that order, you will be on your way.
You will learn how to plant and protect new trees and how to work with powerful seeds to transform your plot into a forest garden that grows what you love.
You will learn how to cover your forest floor with decomposing organic material (dead plant parts) and understand how the old plant material feeds the living biota. Birth and death are part of the system. Mother Earth uses this cycle to sustain us, generation after generation. Mulch is a forest by-product and an excellent method of creating nutrients for a new life.
You will learn to use the elements of fire, water, earth, and air, along with the cycles of seasons, to create a food forest that grows more wonderful through the years.
Food forests hold the keys to the mysteries of the universe.
– Tutu Sainz