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How to Build a Food Forest

Part of "Pastures & Forests"


Food forests are an example of agroforestry used on many homesteads across Hawai‘i and Polynesia. Traditional Pacific Island homes are commonly surrounded by fruit, nut, timber and medicinal trees, grown together in a multilayer forest-like system that includes annual crops and even small livestock.


On some homesteads, ornamental, native and lei flower plants are also included in the food forest.


Homegrown food forests have been called “the epitome of sustainability" by researchers. For kuleana homesteaders this means that food forests can be the most efficient and productive way to home-grow food -- they produce abundantly for families without requiring a lot of work hours or costly external inputs, and yet they can yield harvests over many years and generations. 

This Course segment introduces you to the "architecture" of a food forest, its intentional layering and provides a link to a step by step guide on starting a food forest in Hawai‘i.

Useful Links:
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This article from presents all the basic steps and principles of a food forest. You are encouraged to visit that information-rich site.

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An illustration of the different layers of a food forest with examples of crops in each layer. (Wiki attribution - Quercusrobur at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0).

> Back to Course 7: Pastures & Forests

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