Why food forests are radical/Notes on an arctic food forest

Arguably the oldest form of gardening, food forests are radical today because of what they can do and what they represent. Food Forests are human-made ecosystems generated through companion planting methods that take years to develop and thrive. Arguably the most resilient agro-ecosystem because of their unassisted regeneration, they are known for sustainable plant-based food production.

The site of the Arctic Food Forest will be located in Alaska’s Arctic, potentially near Nome or Kotzebue. Edible plants are transplanted from southern Alaskan regions as needed due to global warming. The Arctic Food Forest is being developed through a process of co-ownership with local stakeholders. Included in the Arctic Food Forest are arctic medicinal plants. These plants will be a source of income, with planned distribution routes to other parts of the United States. One such plant is Devil’s Club, also known as Alaskan ginseng. Devil’s Club, for example, is used for colds, cancer, depression, stomach problems, broken bones, burns, congestion, and inflammation. It is considered “strong medicine” due to its effects on psycho-spiritual aspects of a person.

The process of creating the Arctic Food Forest will be documented and a how-to booklet will be distributed. Many of the documentation materials will be sourced from the food forest itself.

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