Food forests are becoming more popular. But what are they?

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The food industry can have misleading products and cases of unethical practices. As we become more aware of what we consume, the idea of growing our own food like our ancestors is returning.

Simen Li is an expert in creating food forests for his clients. The founder of Superhuman Bliss, he explains why exactly they are so essential and important to have going forward.

Permaculture gardening and lawn gardens are regaining popularity, in particular since lockdowns began. More information is spreading like wildfire about poor soil quality because of harmful pesticides and genetically modified foods, so going back to growing what we eat is one popular solution.

What exactly is a food forest?

Food forests are organic wild foods that are grown in a way mimicking forest patterns. It’s a practical design that follows the patterns of nature as opposed to having straight lines.

Essentially, you cover all the space with wild strong plants and wild fruits. Food forests have levels to create balance and strength and at the top level, only wild species are used. They are a balanced system with wild strong plants that just get stronger over time, and essentially there’s no necessity to weed anything out, since all plants are wild and strong.

Li states: “You can harvest forever, and it’s pretty quick to plant, especially for a food forest expert who knows the patterns. Anyone can have a wild mango tree if they have the right temperatures. The ultimate solution to everything we speak on climate, nutrition and health has so many benefits to it.”

Food forests also collaborate with each other through mushrooms, fungi, soil bacteria and root systems. This trading happens under the soil, where the fungi can even travel a kilometre from one plant to another.

“The plants help each other stay strong and are synergistic. This system is strong, and this is what we see when we see, for example, wild blueberries. No pesticides on it, it’s a strong plant, it has deep roots, plenty of access to minerals,” explains Li. “Lettuce doesn’t have long roots because it is picked early. The longer the roots, the more access they have to minerals, and minerals essentially become the immune system for the plant, and eventually for us.”

food forest plantsWhat is the difference between a wild fruit and a hybrid fruit?

Wild foods are created in nature, whereas hybrid fruits can be created both naturally and artificially in laboratories. Crops are combined with different plants and seeds and are patented.

Because of political and economic pressure, there are seed laws and free trade agreements put in place to adapt to the new demands of the seed and biotechnology industry. Yet another reason to be in control of your food and not Big Agriculture.

Li says: “In typical organic farms, farmers have to weed out all the strong wild plants to protect the hybrid lettuce. What nature wants us to do is remove hybrid plants, because they are not as strong.

“The immune system in lettuce is not as strong as a wild plant. For typical farmers, there is so much work that has to be done and because of that, they use pesticides. They have lines of the plants growing, but it’s unnatural to have only one type of food in one area.”

forest whole foodHow can you start a food forest?

Knowing the difference between hybrid and wild is key, says Li. The idea is to make it as simple as possible. When you look at a map, you can see we have colder climates and warmer climates. When you look at these zones, you can find the food that grows and thrives there.

It is possible to purchase wild plants online or at organic nurseries and start from there. Companies such as Li’s Superhuman Bliss are being born to help people get started. The more people that plant food in the gardens, the more food we have and the richer we become, because we are richer in resources.

Learn how to grow a healthy vegan-friendly garden.

As humans, it is very natural for us to grow food and embrace having food in our garden. When you have a food forest, it gives you the best access to nutrition and optimal health. When the food becomes perfectly mature, it has a great aroma and tastes better. It seems to be the future, and it’s coming extremely fast due to all its positive ramifications.

Tijen Najarian
Tijen Najarian
Tijen holds a certification in Vegan Nutrition, and Chinese Medicine from the University of Hong Kong. When Tijen was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 23, she set out on a path that would dramatically change the course of her life. After years of pain, struggles with the effects of medication, and countless differing opinions from Western doctors, Tijen put her trust in a holistic practitioner and began educating herself on natural medicine and healing remedies. Upon learning that certain foods are inflammatory to the gut microbiome, she chose to cut all animal-based foods from her diet. Based in New York City, she has been in remission for five years and has been blogging her health journey and struggles inspiring many to go vegan themselves, a decision that would ultimately lead to her brand Tijen the Vegan.