Ancient Food Forests

Food forests are the most productive agriculture system in the world. They have the lowest labor and highest yield. Food forests produce more food, medicinal plants, fiber, building materials, fodder, spices, herbs, flowers and other beneficial plants per square meter than any other farming method. Imagine how much work goes into tilling, planting, spraying and weeding row crops such as corn every year. In stark contrast, food forests are virtually self-sustaining once established. They’re also less vulnerable to pests and swings in weather.

***Food forests are power to the people; what nature intended. Modern agriculture is power to big agra (seed, fertilizer, chemical, farm machine companies), banks, etc. Food forests and modern agriculture are at opposite ends of the food producing spectrum. One sustains, honors and nurtures life, while the other brings death and destruction (and profits for a few).***

This article Why Food Forest? at Permaculture is a good overview. “Forests exist fine on their own. There’s no mowing, weeding, spraying, or digging required. No pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides or nasty chemicals. No work and no people either. They somehow do very well, thank you. Now, imagine if everything in this lush, abundant, spectacular forest was edible!”

300 Year Old Food Forest in Vietnam

“This is one of the little extras on the DVD title “Establishing a Food Forest” with Permaculture teacher Geoff Lawton. Whilst Geoff was in Vietnam he discovered a 300 year old Food Forest built on 2 acres of land and still functioning well in the same family 28 generations later.” More info: Eco Films

2,000 Year Old Food Forest in Morocco

One of the extras featured on Geoff Lawton’s DVD “Establishing a Food Forest” the Permaculture Way available from

Other well established food forests:
Robert Hart’s forest garden
Martin Crawford’s forest garden
7 Food Forests in 7 Minutes with Geoff Lawton
30 Year Old Food Forest
20 Year Old Food Forest
A Food Forest in a Village – Naini Jageshwar

From Wiki Forest Gardening
“On the Yucatán Peninsula, much of the Maya food supply was grown in “orchard-gardens”, known as pet kot.”
“Kannur district in Kerala, India shows utmost interest in preserving forest gardens.”
Chagga homegardens of Mt. Kilimanjaro

7 thoughts on “Ancient Food Forests”

  1. Wow, absolutely amazing. And so inspiring!

    There is so much we could learn from these food forests, it boggles the mind. So much more beautiful and productive than the high-maintenance and solely decorative lawns that abound in North American suburbs.

  2. Pepe says that the humanistic economic business model was developed from inside the heart chakra of the world. It is an economic system designed to incorporate compassion and wisdom in an applied enlightened way for the benefit of all humankind. Pepe, his family, Tony Tiger Shark and others developed this system in the hope that if the surface dwellers have a balanced self-empowering economic system in action, perhaps then they will stop destroying themselves and his living ocean ecosystem through greed, desperation and ignorance.

    This is the basic idea. There is more to the subject including a movie Pepe and friends want to make using a funding mechanism based on the following concert.

    Humanistic Business Model
    It’s three basic components:

    1) Entrepreneurial business corporation providing its profits to self-fund social sector activities.
    2) A compound of the Spanish Mondragon Cooperative system resulting in the Worker-Owner aspect.
    3) Capitalization from selected sources resulting in return on investment.

    The modified economic model:

    24-1/2% – Return on invested capital.
    24-1/2% – Employee ownership.
    51% – Social sector self-funding aspect.

    This is about the project:

    INAGUA, the Book Becomes a Movie

    In these times of great environmental disaster, an undiscovered Naturalist-Author resurfaces to set the course for future Eco respect, understanding and balance. In the midst of major planetary despair and confusion, this brilliant Adventurer has resurfaced to stimulate and inspire by example, both present and future generations of youth for the greater benefit of us all.

    At this point of global economic hardship and doom, the IPAC transitional Humanistic Economic System serves as the funding and profit distribution mechanism that not only rewards investors, but importantly provides substantial self sustaining economic resources for the social sector in its time of greatest need. IPAC is pleased to unveil its unique Social Funding Mechanism as the means not only to produce a major motion picture, but to put into place a continuing and enduring tool for social sector economic empowerment.

    IPAC is pleased to re-introduce the man who was a pioneer in underwater exploration before Jacques Cousteau, and an inspiration to many in the marine sciences and the sailing world.
    To read his book, Inagua is to share a profound respect for the world’s most precious resource. Soon to become a movie. And soon we will be able to experience the life and work of Gilbert Klingel, an undiscovered hero.

    Gilbert Klingel

    Self-made Renaissance man, an avid reader, writer, and designer/builder
    Naturalist/Explorer of the Chesapeake Bay and Caribbean
    Pioneer in underwater exploration/diving and photography
    Author of three books: Inagua, The Bay, and Boat Building with Steel
    Boat builder who pioneered the use of steel in yacht construction
    Designer/ builder of underwater diving devices, the Bentharium and the Aquascope
    Worked with Natural History Society of Maryland, American Museum of Natural History and National Geographic Society

    Humanistic Economics

    An economic transition tool, providing self-funding of the social sector while rewarding the investor & the worker-owner
    IPAC-MERC Rhythm

    Synopsis of the book:

    INAGUA, The Ocean Island *

    Inagua is a shipwrecked naturalist’s story of adventure and discovery on a lonely island in the Bahamas. It is however much more than just an adventure story. It is a story of surviving a disaster and making the best of a bad situation. It is a story written with such keen observation, awareness and style that one feels right there with the author as this true saga unfolds.

    The author Gilbert Klingel spent most of his life on and around the Chesapeake Bay but in his early years he had a yearning to explore the West Indies. This book is the result of two expeditions to the lonely and forgotten island of Inagua. In a way, it is the story of an expedition that failed of its original purpose but which was compensated by certain unexpected experiences which otherwise would have been lost.

    Out of a disaster came something fruitful but it took strong character, a positive attitude, a pioneering spirit, quiet patience and persistence. All these qualities Gilbert had and because of this he was able to very successfully capture the essence of an island. In so doing, he brings us to understand what he calls the web of life. He shows us how everything on this earth is interconnected and how a breakdown of the ecological balance would seriously endanger the environment of our earth. This is so pertinent to what is happening to our world today.

    We go back in time when life was simpler and the earth was cleaner and more intact. It was still a time when sailing ships navigated by compass and sextant, a time before technology took over the lives of most everyone. It was 1930 and a great adventure was about to begin. This was no ordinary adventure for it was a scientific expedition sponsored by one of the largest museums in the world.

    Gilbert and his good friend Wally Coleman set out in a sailing ship which was a replica of Captain Joshua Slocum’s Spray in which Slocum was the first to sail single-handed around the world in the 1890’s. Their ship was outfitted as a research vessel and was named the Basilisk after a Caribbean lizard that could run across the water.

    Plans were made to sail from island to island in the West Indies to observe, collect and gather information on rare species. The outcome of the voyage of the Basilisk is the focus of the first part of the book. Gilbert returned to the island with diving equipment for undersea work in 1938 to study reefs and marine life. These observations make up the second part of the book.

    The scenes range from foggy calms to terrific storms and disaster on a coral reef, from landing on an almost unknown island to being met by natives ready to take the few salvaged possessions from the shipwreck, from being arrested for not asking permission to be shipwrecked, from a long trek around the island with little food and water, to finding the largest flamingo colony of the Western Hemisphere and to seeing and experiencing the fantastic and exquisite world of the undersea barrier reef. There is all this and much more.

    … towards a healing planet

  3. Yes!

    Power to the People on all levels..

    Food, building structures, and humanistic economic systems of commerce of course.

    Thank you Owen..

    submitted by Pepe the Coral Polyp who says… “don’t hurt me or my family, please”

    • Food… check.
      Buildings… check.
      Humanistic economic systems of commerce… whoa, we haven’t covered that yet except very tangentially. That’s what my friend Jerry was teaching in Haiti last week. Very powerful. A sustainable, just economy is necessary for all these other things to thrive. Do you have any favorite links?

    • Robert Hart was the first contemporary author who wrote books about food forests. He studied ancient traditional food forests in India, etc. and that’s where I got the idea. There are probably lots of these all around the world tucked away here and there. This got me thinking and laughing. A poor farmer in the middle or no where could suddenly make a lot of money by advertising his food forest expertise.


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