Can Our Land Be Reclaimed?

Can Our Land Be Reclaimed photo by Kimtaro

Food forests are a possible option for a more sustainable future. Ancient methods of sustainability could fulfill an element necessary in converting our ecologically unsound cities into healthy habitats for all.

Imagine ancient travelers forging ahead on a route older than the human concept of time. Where do they stop? What do they eat? One possible answer is the food forest, a system that forms a mutually supportive bond between humans and nature. These travelers did not just forge ahead…they foraged ahead.

The road along the ancient trade route provided food for the hungry traveler. It didn’t destroy.

In the case of food crops, a polyculture tries to set up conditions where you can eat almost continually out of a garden bed filled with different varieties of plants maturing at different times.

Imagine the blank spots in a city where soil is still exposed to sky and sun.

Imagine these small areas planted with polyculture food forests. Imagine converted backyard plots expanding to follow the waterways, natural or canal. Imagine the plots extending through the city’s narrow hedgerows, backyards, waterways and median strips. Imagine the residents near these plots caretaking them. Imagine these food forest plots providing for the community directly from the land, free of charge. Imagine the canopy returning. Imagine our cities converted into living green space that protects us from climate and provides us with sustenance.

Can we replant up Eden?

What powers life? How do sunlight and nutrients affect the plants we depend on? How do greenhouse gases and other contaminants degrade the interactions among the plant, animal, and microbial populations that comprise ecosystems?

A food forest is ecosystem ecology in action that supports itself, and at the same time feeds a community. All the flora and fauna share in balanced interactions that enable survival over vast periods of time, while providing food and medicine for humans. Initially, humans create a food forest with the goal that the forest must eventually sustain itself without direct human stewardship.

Only in recent times have local human communities began to lose the ability to sustain themselves directly from the ecosystem. For the rest of the time humans have lived as a beneficial part of the environment and acted as caretakers for the system.

One plot at a time, we can start to reclaim our land. From Sydney to Seattle, the process has already begun!

Project Urban Food Forest, Sydney

Beacon Food Forest Project, Seattle

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–Photo Kimtaro/Flickr

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About Wilhelm Cortez

Wilhelm Cortez is the Social Justice editor for The Good Men Project.
Teacher, traveler, performer. A global conversationist trying to help calibrate our twenty-first century social G.P.S.

Comments

  1. wellokaythen says:

    I hope you’re using “Eden” as an extremely general metaphor and not an actual goal.

    The idea of an ecological, sustainable prehistoric Eden is just as fanciful as the Adam-and-Eve version of Eden. It’s a very popular myth that aboriginal or prehistoric people lived in perfect harmony with nature, constantly thought about the interconnectedness of all things, and made ecological sustainability the center of their cultures. In reality, we have virtually no evidence they actually thought that way. The “environmentalist noble savage” is just as fantastical as the tooth fairy.

    (One more quote of the fictitious speech by Chief Seattle and I think I’ll vomit. Thanks for not doing that, at least.)

    We can get some great ideas about long-term sustainability from looking at prehistoric societies, but ultimately if we want sustainable food sources we’re going to have to invent some entirely new things. Unless we really want to turn back the clock and practice regular infanticide, ritualized killing of the elderly (more than we do already), and cut our life expectancy in half.

  2. Food forrests don’t produce enough food. To feed everyone we need fertilizer and monoculture.

    • Actually we need to set up solarstats on all the worlds deserts beside the oceans. Then use the water to turn the desert areas into farm land. By putting the salt brine back into the oceans we can raise the speed of the ocean currents back up. See my website posts!

  3. Here is your chance to show support! Please go to link and tell the city and Friends of Reserve Park (FoRP) that you want the Gainesville Food Forest here! You can give your info and get on the Reserve Park email list, or be anonymous. Give your input, and share this link. 7 acres of open land right here in downtown Gainesville at the abandoned Reserve site.

    Thanks!
    Robbie, VP of FoRP (Gainesville, FL)
    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1skCAq0RrtKbjEPilA203RiVq5XTNegODIAA2h-t9TXc/viewform

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