Eating the future – FGCU’s food forest
Money doesn’t grow on trees, the saying goes – at least not directly. But when sustainability, food security and good environmental stewardship does, the economic benefits can’t be far behind. While the kids are out of school, it’s a great time to plan a visit to Florida Gulf Coast University’s Food Forest. It’s a good chance to show them that produce doesn’t grow on the shelves of your grocery store, and they may even be inspired to pursue an education in environmental science or agriculture and join up with the FGCU Food Foresters.
A food forest is a self-sustaining large-scale edible garden designed using the principles of permaculture. In the 1970s, permaculture movement pioneers Bill Mollison and David Holmgren described an “integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.” That’s pretty abstract. A visit to the FGCU Food Forest will demonstrate a productive ethic that mimics the patterns and cycles found in nature to provide for the needs of people for years to come.
The students working on the food forest now are leaving a living legacy. Future generations of students will continually reap the rewards of working with a mature food forest. Returning alumni will experience a whole little world seeded by their design and labor, and can tell the story of where it all began. The future is tasty, and can teach us all a lot about the wisdom of nature and how to improve our lives in harmony with it. Then, there’s the whole gratification of seeing young people take control of the future. Dig in!