Edible gardens, edible and nourishing forests, the bases are the same – a healthy self-sustaining agroecosystem, inspired by nature, where all the plants cohabit with mutual respect. In fact a naturally logical garden in which you can eat everything that grows there. A concept which pleases – and is becoming more and more popular! Public authorities, holiday resorts – and if you made one for your own clients?
Permaculture. The philosophy behind edible gardens
Edible gardens are the emerged garden of the permaculture iceberg. Permaculture is in itself a philosophy – an agricultural movement based on a self-sufficient environment in which all forms of life – people, insects, animals and plants live in harmony The idea is that all these elements are interdependent and that the wastes of one become the foods of another. The aim is to recreate the biodiversity habitually found in nature. These are human creations which operate like a natural sustainable ecosystem. In an edible garden, all the plants regenerate abundantly without assistance to produce grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and aromatics…
What are edible gardens for?
To respect nature and life, to reduce water consumption, to limit working the ground … these are the several benefits from edible gardens. The most important are:
- A return to a natural eco-system. Edible gardens can, or rather should, do without pesticides. There are various elements which compose the garden and enable self-sufficiency due to their complementarity. Hens eat pests, worms excrete potting soil for the plants and fruit trees protect vegetable plants from bad weather. Everything is coherent and logical to limit as far as possible the action of mankind and forget pesticides and fossil fuels.
- Open to the public, as often found in France and all over the world, edible gardens are particularly interactive and fun. Near municipalities and tourist centres, for example, visitors can eat all the produce they meet and find out how the eco-system works. Edible gardens are also instructive!
Bill Mollison is considered as the Father of Permaculture. In the 90s, he met up with edible gardens pioneer Robert Hart. At this meeting they developed the 7 cultures model, all inspired by traditional know-how and nature. One first idea was the canopy, composed of big fruit trees and another aromatic plants used as ground-cover … Deep thought about the organisation of the garden and a very precise choice of the plants needed to ensure its self-sufficiency. This agricultural approach was adopted for many edible gardens. These include the Jardin des Fraternités Ouvrières at Moucron in Belgium, an abundant forest covering 1,800sq.m. in which everything is edible and the ferme biologique de Bec Hallouin, one of the first in France.
An edible garden is a well thought out organisation which impacts both sight and taste. Open to the public they are both instructive and fun!