In-depth with Forest Garden Pioneer: Martin Crawford

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by Nick van Zutphen, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. Nick van Zutphen

    Nick van Zutphen Junior Member

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    Martin Crawford is one of the pioneers in edible Forest Gardening in the temperate climate zone of Western Europe. He is director of the Agroforestry Research Trust, has written several books on the matter and is considered a leading expert in this field. We meet Martin in his 2-acre (0.8 hectare), 20-year-old Forest Garden in Dartington, Devon, Southern England, underneath a group of pine trees: https://garnense.com/en/inspiration/depth-forest-garden-pioneer-martin-crawford
     
  2. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    ((No offense Nick))

    Does anyone realize Permaculture has been going on for over 30 years, almost 40?

    I miss Robert Hart of the UK, rip.
     
  3. Nick van Zutphen

    Nick van Zutphen Junior Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean but if it is about that I call Martin Crawford a pioneer, that is because I think he is. In my opinion Martin carried on with what Robert Hart started. Back then there was hardly anyone else doing that in the temperate climate so I think that it is legitimate to call him a pioneer. As everyone who is familiar with Permaculture knows that even the pioneer phase goes trough various stages. There aren't many 20 year old successful forest gardens in the temperate climate.

    PFAF, Plants For A Furture, in Cornwall has a slightly older system (1989), with a plethora of different and valuable species. Apart from small maintenance it has been left to it self and is doing great.

    Martin's site in Dartington is a great example of a very successful low maintenance system in the temperate climate. I think that the next phase of succession would be a very productive forest garden in the temperate climate.
     
  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    An excellent interview with Martin ... thank you for posting this Nick!
    I would define a pioneer as one who pushes the envelop of existing knowledge/practice to new levels. Martin certainly qualifies.

    I read some new statistics about soil loss (through agricultural practice) the other day which stated that the current rates of loss are more than 20 times the natural replacement rate. Big Ag monocrop practices, even no-till and cover crops, are not enough to reduce this loss to zero not to mention begin to actually create/accumulate new soil. Multi-story forest gardens have the ability to create new soil year-on-year with little to no inputs from humans. This is exactly the type of practice we need to learn and implement on a growing number of sites to begin to reverse our century+ long history of topsoil losses.
     
  5. Nick van Zutphen

    Nick van Zutphen Junior Member

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    Thanks for sharing your view on soil loss, I completely agree. I know a lot of farmers here in the Netherlands and it seems to me that there has to happen a lot before they will start planting Forest Gardens. No-till is not even being considered, growing post-harvest green-manures gains in popularity but there is a long way to go.

    In Europe we are facing dramatic price drops in agricultural products due to the trading embargo with Russia, since we export a lot I hope this will open-up the mindset a bit.
    The fact that such a small nation as Holland exports so much agricultural produce and has to import so much food to feed its people is just... but that is a different conversation.

    I hope to inspire people to grow some of their own food again in a sustainable way, that would be a massive gain :)
     

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