Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Vision for the Eastern U.S.

At the Mother Earth News Fair we recently attended in Seven Springs, PA, we were privileged to listen to Lincoln Smith of Forested, LLC give some practical advice about food forest gardening. Forested runs a training center in Bowie, MD where they seek to enact their vision, which reads,

Our 50 year vision is for forest garden ecosystems to sustainably supply
a large portion of all the things people use in the eastern United States.

Considering that the portion of forest garden products in what most people here currently use is approximately 0, Forested's ambition is on a scale as that of  Smith speaks with certainty about the need for forest gardening to replace the mono-culturated crops that presently supply most of our food, fiber, and a little fuel.  Edible Forest Gardens - Volume One: Vision & Theory by Dave Jacke elaborates greatly on Forested's vision, and may, indeed, be the source of it.

Let me quote excerpts of the scenario that Jacke lays out to give you an idea of what life may look like in the Forested future:

  • Fruits and nuts swell on trees everywhere
  • ...foods grow along your path - you even know all their names and how to use them
  • Flowers bloom all over the place
  • Some of these forest gardens approach farm scale as they grow 
  • Cottage industries ... have sprung up
  • fishing got better
  • Previously isolated forest fragments linked to each other
  • Our human habitation started looking, feeling, and acting more like a natural ecosystem
  • Agriculture as we knew it was transformed
  • we felt healthier, more alive, more connected... than we had for generations

The week after the Fair, I had a conversation with the new director of the American Chestnut Land Trust (topic of my previous post) in which he asked me if I had any involvement with agroforestry (synonymous with Forest Gardening).  The fact that he has an interest in this concept is crucial to the chances of ACLT achieving their vision for Calvert County, since forest gardening is going to redefine life all around us if Forested's vision comes true.

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