The Food Forest Project was set up by a group of individuals that felt moved by the plight of the natural landscape, and the people linked to that landscape. As an organisation, it seeks to combat issues such as social isolation, habitat depletion, accessibility of locally sourced food and to help to heal intensively farmed agricultural and industrial land. At the heart of the FFP, is our mission. We want to help bring communities together by creating community hubs in the shape of food forests, that can not only restore failing landscapes but also restore a sense of community; to make whole what we all lack in this world of disconnect – relationships. Relationships with ourselves, by giving a sense of purpose and self-respect through working to grow and harvest food, relationships with the communities we live in by bringing people closer together in a safe space developing a common goal, and the relationship we have with our natural world by reinvigorating a sense of respect for the living world around us.
The Food Forest Project acquires parcels of intensively used land, and with the help of local communities, we plant food forests! Food forests are layered design systems that feed the earth as well as its inhabitance. They are very low maintenance and completely sustainable working as a closed-loop system (waste-free). From the soil to the habitats in the trees and shrubs, the system works in harmony with the natural world. Once the food forests have weathered their first season, they can be left to grow into a wild area of fruit and nut trees, berry and currant shrubs, fruiting vines and lushes ground herbs, which the whole community can enjoy! These crops won't just be available for those that can afford the luxury of natural food but to anybody and everybody.
We started out as a rewilding project 3 years ago, however we had difficulties finding land and landowners willing to allow a rewilding project.
However, when we focused on the plight in many communities; social isolation, accessibility to locally sourced food as well as helping to heal intensively farmed agricultural land, we were then able to find land and start community food forests.
Funding is always an issue with not for profit organisation, however we have been lucky to have found funding with the Somerset Community Foundation, Mendip District Council as well as the National Lottery Community Grants Fund.
We have been lucky to have had some amazing volunteers throughout the past 2 years running the organisation. We found our volunteers mainly through social media, often with a plea for help. A lot of our volunteers like to be hands on, tree planting and maintaining the community food forests. We have however struggled with time to fill in grant applications, as the core members of the organisation work full time. This is all down to just juggling work/life balance.
A healthy and well used community food forest is our measure for success. Thankfully we have had this with all of our projects.