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Establishing a Food Forest with Geoff Lawton - DVD

Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2473
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74


In this 85 minutes DVD Produced by EcoFilms.com.au, Geoff Lawton walks us trough the theory of establishing a food forest and then shows sub-tropical examples of food forests at different stages of maturity.

Preview



Summary

The Basics



The DVD starts by looking at the patterns of a forest. Geoff identifies 6 basic layers: Climax or canopy, understorey, shrubs and bush, herbs, ground cover, climbers. He then adds clumpers, root yield, palms for the tropics in general and emergent palms for the wet tropics.

But a forest is not just about the form, it is also a function of time through successions. Similarly, a food forest needs to get established with the support nitrogen fixing species that, along with their bacteria fauna will take nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it into the soil.



As with natural forests, the support species are tiered. The first layer is the ground cover that is a short lived nitrogen fixer. It will usually last one season. The second layer is composed of the short term legume trees that will usually last 4 to 5 years. The third layer is composed of medium term legume trees that will last 10 to 15 years. The fourth layer is made of long term legume trees that will live to full term. At the same time the support trees are planted, so are productive trees: fruit and nut bearing, lumber trees. As time passes the composition of the forest will change from being mostly support trees to mostly productive trees. The different species all fit together in space as well as in time.

Geoff explains that the transition from the support species to the productive ones is sped up by well timed human interventions. When rainfalls are greater than evaporation, support trees can be pruned (pollarded) to cycle nutrient faster, and create openings for light to penetrate the canopy. The branches that are cut are then used as mulch, which will protect and enrich the soil. Additionally, cutting branches forces the trees to shed roots. Since the pruned trees are nitrogen fixers, these shed roots make more nitrogen available in the soil.

Geoff emphasizes that such systems can be established in any climates and that we have all the plants we need throughout the world to do so.

Food Forest Evolution

The second part of the DVD, shows food forests at different times, from the establishment to the a mature system. The examples shown are definitely for a sub-tropical climate, however it gives us a template to work from. The specific species can be substituted by some more adapted to the particular climate one lives in.



The first food forest Geoff shows is one being established. He shows a swale that is being planted in the fall with ground cover plants and some nurse species. For the ground cover, they use a mixture of fast growing legumes: cow peas and lupin. They plant from seeds short to medium term trees, such as leucaena, and transplant long term legume trees (e.g. Ice Cream Bean tree) and productive trees (e.g. Rose Apple tree).



Geoff then shows the food forest three months later, already bursting with plants. He walks us through the different species: Casuarina, a non legume nitrogen fixing tree; Tephrosia a N-fixing tree that will be used for chop and drop; Galangal, a culinary herb; sweet potato, an edible perennial ground cover; comfrey, a dynamic accumulator; mushrooms, the soil's teeth; and much more. With such a system, the plants fill in similar niches that would otherwise be filled by not so desirable plants. The design mimics natural weed systems.

Geoff takes us next to a three years old food forest. This forest is already pretty stable, with a consistent ground cover of sweet potatoes, and fruit trees already bearing fruits.



The next food forest is a six years old one. Geoff demonstrates the chop and drop method and shows the amazing soil structure. He shows different legume and productive trees: tephrosia, tipuana tipu, cassia, banana, coffee, and silky oak.



Outer Edge Food Forest



After showing food forests at different stages of development, Geoff takes us to an outer zone food forest and shows us that even with very little maintenance, it can be productive. This food forest has long term fruit trees that are producing on their own with very little to no human intervention: mango, custard apples, avocado, Jack fruits, etc.

Chickens, Weeds, Nursery, Kitchen Garden



Geoff goes into great details on how chickens can help establish the food forest. He shows ground where the chickens were 3 months ago, 1 month ago and as they are being moved. Through their scratching and pooping, they prepare the ground for planting, in addition to breaking the pest cycle.

The next part goes into how weeds can be used to repair the landscape. Geoff explains that some weeds will only germinate when the soil is compacted, others when it is too loose, and yet some other only after a fire. Along with animals, weeds are a tool to remineralize damaged soil.



Geoff subsequently shows the nursery where they start the plants for the new food forest. He then shows the kitchen garden, bursting with over 400 species of vegetables and herbs and fruits trees along the edge.

Tagari Farm



The DVD ends with a section filmed at Tagari farm, the original home of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. There Geoff shows us a food forest that is about 9 years old and that has not been maintained for over 7 years. This constructed forest acts as a true forest in being self maintaining. It hosts a massive variety of productive plants: Jack fruit tree, chocolate pudding fruit tree, coffee tree, citrus, bamboo, banana, Brazil berries, custard apples, mulberry, macadamia. Geoff explains that with just a little bit of maintenance, the forest could produce even more.



In this extremely productive food forest, Geoff concludes the DVD on a very hopeful note: "We can inhabit the Earth for ever with little effort with ongoing permanent systems." The future is indeed extremely bright!

Bonus

On top of the excellent explanation on how to establish a food forest, the DVD also shows different examples of longer lived food forests: 30 years old food forest in Australia; 300 years old food forest in Vietnam; 2,000 years old food forest in Morocco.

Where to get it?

Ecofilms
Green Shopping
Amazon.com

Related Books and Magazines

Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

Vol 1 and 2 at Amazon.com

Vol 1 at Amazon.co.uk
Vol 2 at Amazon.co.uk

Vol 1 at Green Shopping
Vol 2 at Green Shopping

Creating a Forest Garden: Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops
by Martin Crawford

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Green Shopping

How to Make a Forest Garden
by Patrick Whitefield

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Green Shopping

Forest Gardening
With Robert Hart

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Green Shopping

Permaculture Magazine Issue on Forest Gardening

Green Shopping

Related Podcasts

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #057 Preparing a food forest

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #070 Review of Geoff Lawton Food Forests DVD

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #089 Interview with Geoff Lawton Part 1

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #090 Interview with Geoff Lawton Part 2

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #195 Geoff Lawton on his Food Forests DVD

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #227 Spreading Permaculture with Geoff Lawton Part 1

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #228 Spreading Permaculture with Geoff Lawton Part 2

Related Videos

7 Food Forests in 7 Minutes with Geoff Lawton

Beneficial Weeds in a Young Food Forest - Polyculture!

Closed Canopy Organic Gardening is Food Forest Prep

Permaculture with Jack Spirko Part 5 - Forest Layers

Related Articles

Why Food Forests?

Wikipedia Article on Forest Gardening

Nation's Largest 'Food Forest' To Be Built In Middle Of Seattle

Related Threads

Food Forests

Who is growing a food forest?

Growing Staple Food Crops in Permaculture Systems

Food Forest from scratch in Zone 5

Year-Round Food Forest

Related Websites

GeoffLawton.com

http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/

http://www.forestag.com/index.html


Permaculture Kingston
Matthew Nistico


Joined: Nov 20, 2010
Posts: 208
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
    
  12
I agree with Paul - nice job on this page!


Blazing trails in disabled homesteading
Cj Verde


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 2973
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  51
The only thing I would add is that at Geoff Lawton's site is a free video, about a half hour long, which is almost like a preview for the DVD. This was mentioned in Paul's recent podcast with Geoff.


My project thread
Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
Robert Marr


Joined: Mar 10, 2010
Posts: 53
I'd like to buy the Establishing a Food Forest - DVD's and not have them shipped from Australia.

In Paul's dailyish email, he provides links to an amazon seller but they have none in stock, will this seller be restocking at some point?

In the nature of permaculture it would be nice to pay for the DVD image and burn them to DVD myself, downloading them would have a lot less environmental impact. Or at the very least to a bulk order of the dvds so that everyone isn't paying 40 in S&H from Australia.


Thoughts?
Matthew Nistico


Joined: Nov 20, 2010
Posts: 208
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
    
  12
@Robert - An excellent point! My suggestion: send an email to PRI and suggest that they set up a retail option to do just that. Here is the link: http://www.permaculturenews.org/contact-the-pri/

I can't think of any reason that they wouldn't consider doing what you suggest. Your reasoning about reducing the environmental impact of the product is self-evident, and I don't think that this would make the DVD any more or less likely to be pirated. It's already available to pirates on line, as is most everything.
Robert Marr


Joined: Mar 10, 2010
Posts: 53
I sent them an email, we will see how they reply.
Robert Reid


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 24
    
  10
the other problem with ordering them from PRI is you might get a pal version video.
My food forest dvd was NTSC so I was able to watch it, but the other 4 I received were pal, so I haven't been able to watch them yet.

The bonus 300 year old food forest in Vietnam was one of my favourite parts.
Bill McRoy


Joined: Sep 11, 2010
Posts: 19
Hello, I ordered Jeff Lawton's 5 DVD set online on December 27th and it has not come yet. I am in Michigan, they are coming from Australia. Does 12 days seem like a long time to any of you? Have any of you waited this long (or longer)? Yeah, I know, I am anxious. They will probably come tomorrow (I hope, I hope).
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2473
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74
Bill,

it took over two weeks for the Food Forest DVD to get here, so I would assume the same delay for where you are.
Bill McRoy


Joined: Sep 11, 2010
Posts: 19
Adrien Lapointe wrote:Bill,

it took over two weeks for the Food Forest DVD to get here, so I would assume the same delay for where you are.


Thank You.
Robert Marr


Joined: Mar 10, 2010
Posts: 53
Robert Marr wrote:I sent them an email, we will see how they reply.


I have not gotten a response from pri sales email address. Does anyone have a contact there, its crazy to be paying this much for shipping for the DVD's. A downloadable medium would be much preferred and help spread the word for permaculture with minimal negative impact, come on guys!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Try contacting Craig Mackintosh at PRI, he seems helpful and might have some ideas: http://forums.permaculturenews.org/member.php?4804-CraigMackintosh


Idle dreamer

Jose Reymondez


Joined: Oct 02, 2012
Posts: 133
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
    
    2
I understand the pollarding method to release nitrogen in to the soil via root diaback. Would this work with Black Locust? I hear it is very rot resistant, the pollarded above-ground wood could obviously be used for building material but would the root dieback take a long time to break down?


Why work hard when god made so many mongongo nuts? - !Kung

The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the domination of man by man - Murray Bookchin

C'est drôle comme les gens qui se croient instruits éprouvent le besoin de faire chier le monde.-Boris Vian

El hombre es la naturaleza que toma conciencia de sí misma -Elisée Reclus
Gerald Benard


Joined: Jan 01, 2012
Posts: 16
Unbelievable page!

Check out Geoff's latest work merging Permaculture and Preparing for disasters at www.GeoffLawton.com. It's Free!
Pamela Kirsch


Joined: Nov 22, 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Yamhill, Oregon
EXcellent info here. Thanks.


“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Henry David Thoreau
Aljaz Plankl


Joined: Feb 18, 2010
Posts: 321
    
    6
Black Locust does not pollard very well. It's better for coppice. Roots dieback, they don't need a long time.
Jose Reymondez wrote:I understand the pollarding method to release nitrogen in to the soil via root diaback. Would this work with Black Locust? I hear it is very rot resistant, the pollarded above-ground wood could obviously be used for building material but would the root dieback take a long time to break down?
Tony Keyman


Joined: Jan 18, 2013
Posts: 4
I enjoy Geoff's videos and appreciate all the work he's doing, but the fact that he's selling those DVDs is a bit problematic. He says he wants to change the world, he wants to help people move from mindless consumption to a more meaningful and sustainable lifestyle. And then he goes on and charges money for his videos. If he's serious about changing the world why wouldn't he want to reach as many people as possible by making the videos a free download? A decent hd camera, some editing software and a pc is all he uses, this stuff is really inexpensive these days. You can host them for free on youtube and other websites, and make money on ads placed next to the video. I know he has a youtube channel but you can only view samples there.

Also physical DVDs require a significant amount of resources to produce and ship, making the stuff available on the net would surely be much better for the environment!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Much of the Food Forests DVD is available for free on Youtube.

Free video also available on his website: http://www.geofflawton.com/sq/15449-geoff-lawton
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15219
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Tony,

If what you are saying is correct, then it sounds like you should be able to do exactly that: create videos and post them to youtube for free.

There are many strategies to getting the word out and changing the world. Geoff is doing one. You are suggesting another. Be the change you want to see.


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Tony Keyman


Joined: Jan 18, 2013
Posts: 4
@ Tyler, agreed about the Food Forest dvd, but there are numerous other titles produced by Eco Films and to watch them all you have to fork out several hundred dollars.

@ Paul, there is a crucial difference between me and Mr Lawton: I never claimed that I want to change the way our civilization operates, and Mr. Lawton makes that very claim. Films produced by him contain very useful knowledge and he's got every right to charge money for that knowledge. My point is, there is a major dissonance between saying "I want as many people as possible to properly apply the principles of permaculture" and then saying "I'll show you some ways to apply permaculture for free, but if you want to learn the whole thing you need to pay me"
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Geoff Lawton answers your questions (for free): http://forums.permaculturenews.org/showthread.php?14580-Ask-Geoff-a-question-Round-3
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15219
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
It seems to me that Geoff Lawton gives TONS of stuff away for free. And there are a few things for which he charges.

I think that I could be called an expert in permaculture. And I give away more free information on permaculture than all other permaculture people combined. And, leaning heavily on what little authority that might give me: I do not see a conflict between his message and his actions.

There are ways to get information into brains via the purchased DVD path that are not open in the free path. I think it is a great contribution to the permaculture world to offer things in both paths and many others.

John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6577
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
I feel that permaculture is an ongoing learning process which requires one to step in and experiment.

Geoff Lawton certainly provides ample free materials for those who want to learn this process.

He also offers more materials for those that can afford to pay (and thus help subsidize his ongoing worldwide projects).

He offers enough to allow anybody to get started down this path for free. And some extras for those who can afford it to help him keep these projects going for all of mankind. The best of both worlds, in my opinion.

The "Pay-per-view" system offers a shortcut method for those who do not want to pay the price of investing all of that time. Think of it as "instant gratification" for those in a hurry for a 'turn-key' operation.

Tony Keyman


Joined: Jan 18, 2013
Posts: 4
Sorry guys, but for me the dissonance remains. The endgame for the whole permaculture movement is to get 100% of human beings on this planet to live sustainably, right? Therefore providing the maximum amount of knowledge to the maximum number of people is the optimal startegy. That's pure logic. I'm not denying Geoff's doing great things, I'm merely pointing out that making most of your knowledge freely available is less effective than making all of your knowledge freely available.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15219
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Tony, I just googled your name and the word "permaculture". Zero.

So when you say, "the dissonance remains" I'm going to have to say, yes, it does. But not with Geoff Lawton.

Again: the DVD stuff reaches people that the free stuff doesn't reach. Therefore, this strategy reaches more people.

Another again: be the change you want to see.

Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2473
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74
@Tony

I understand your point. Geoff can decide for himself and perhaps he cannot afford to give that movie for free for different reasons. My understanding is that he paid to get it done. On the other hand, he has a new video that is available for free and that contains a lot of material similar to what you can find in the Food Forest DVD. Plus he has more movies coming. You can find this new video here.

On the other hand if you want to help spread the word about Permaculture, Permies is always in need of some help. Send me a PM and I can tell you more.
Matthew Nistico


Joined: Nov 20, 2010
Posts: 208
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
    
  12
@Tony - Sorry to pile on here, but I'm afraid I have to voice my agreement with Paul. This world may be full of hypocrites who don't walk the walk equal to their own talk - and perhaps the "green" movement may be even more full of them than the population average - but I hardly think Geoff Lawton can be counted among them. Geoff has done more to advance the cause of permaculture and a sustainable future for humanity than 90% of the rest of us here on Permies combined! And as Paul pointed out, Geoff has done a huge amount that for free already. I am not advancing the case for "celebrity hero worship" that would place him on a blameless pedestal for all time, but I am making the point that all of us deserve to be judged on our actions, and his actions have been pretty damned impressive.

I do see the logic of your point ...but only if you want to look at it as an intellectual exercise in logic, as a lawyer in a courtroom or an armchair philosopher picking nits. In the real world, however, things are different. In the real world, things cost money! Everything does. Have you watched all of Geoff's videos? I have watched most of them, and they are damned good. They have a production value a hell of a lot higher than any amateur videoing himself with his cell phone and posting it on YouTube is ever going to achieve. That takes time and equipment and an experienced staff and crew, and all of that costs money. And please don't talk to me about volunteers and donations. I've worked with volunteers, and they are generally worth exactly as much you're paying them. And as for donations, well, post here the evidence that you yourself have made a significant donation to PRI in Australia, and I will shut up.

In the meantime, by raising money by selling a quality product - with which in itself there is NOTHING MORALLY WRONG WHATSOEVER, despite what many a hippie permie with one tenth the real-world accomplishments of Geoff Lawton has tried to argue here in the past - he can afford to expand his efforts even further and do even more to help the world and to spread the word. I for one want him to keep making videos and advancing permaculture projects around the world as he has been doing. That will require money, plain and simple. All of the rest of this is just talking in circles.
Jerry Ward


Joined: Sep 09, 2010
Posts: 172
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
    
    2
I would like to add my voice to the list asking for a downloadable version of this. I have moved almost exclusively away from buying physical media, in part I don't want to pay for shipping or store the disc. Plus it is just far more convenient to store everything on a big hard drive and have everything at my fingertips.


Starting on developing a 10 acre permaculture homestead in a sub-urban area. see http://www.my10acres.info
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Jerry, have you asked over at PRI? http://www.permaculturenews.org/ They won't know people want a downloadable version of the DVD if people don't tell them.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15219
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I have asked it of Geoff Lawton directly.

Further, I sent email to Geoff and Frank (Geoff's dvd guy) about it at least twice.

They are very aware.

Jerry Ward


Joined: Sep 09, 2010
Posts: 172
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
    
    2
BTW Paul,

I feel the same way about your "4 DVD" set on RMH . While I can't pay the $100 now I hope I can buy a download in the future.

Jerry

paul wheaton wrote:I have asked it of Geoff Lawton directly.

Further, I sent email to Geoff and Frank (Geoff's dvd guy) about it at least twice.

They are very aware.

Katrin Kerns


Joined: Feb 08, 2012
Posts: 104
    
    2
This page is awesome! So much information!


P.P.O.Y.T. (Playfully pouncing on your toes.)
J.T. Croteau


Joined: Feb 16, 2013
Posts: 34
Location: NH and MO
How is someone in the AUS going to teach those of us in the USA to do the same? This is what I don't understand and preventing me from spending $$$ on this. Much different climates, much different agriculture.


"A house built of logs will look like none other, for it will glorify the stick."
Frank Lloyd Wright
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2473
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74
Jt Croteau wrote:How is someone in the AUS going to teach those of us in the USA to do the same? This is what I don't understand and preventing me from spending $$$ on this. Much different climates, much different agriculture.


Jt, the concepts and the functions stay the same. If you are in a colder climate, like I am, you obviously will not use the same species in your food forest, but the phases the food forest will go through and the earthworks will be somewhat similar. You are correct that you cannot just take the content of the DVD and apply it blindly in most of North America.
Julia Winter
volunteer

Joined: Aug 31, 2012
Posts: 943
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
    
  77
Any new information about getting access to a streaming version of this for a price? The feeling I get from hearing Geoff talk is that DVDs are too easy to copy and pirate. He likes the "membership" model of his online PDC (which I'm taking right now and it's excellent). I think he sent us a copy of this as part of the massive DVD library we got in the mail, but I wonder if he could have some lesser membership website that gives access to one or more of his for-sale videos.

Of course, he's released a whole slew of free videos recently, so anyone who wants to see what Geoff is like can start there.


Ask me about food.
 
 
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