Food Forests as a sustainable solution for feeding the population
Within striking distance of the greater Utrecht area in the Netherlands, we’re supporting Jan Degenaar with his Food Forest project. The idea is to plant fruit trees and other edible plants, and then leave nature to handle the rest. The end goal is to provide the public with foodie walking trails, where they can pick and harvest their food as they stroll, while giving biodiversity the space it needs to flourish.
I planted hedges and soon noticed that wildlife was reacting well.
A philosopher by trade, Jan Degenaar is only too happy to roll up his sleeves and plunge his hands into the soil. Armed with an unshakeable belief in the idea that we can feed people and work the land without destroying biodiversity, Jan threw himself into setting up a food forest in the village of Haarzuilens, located a stone’s throw away from Utrecht. He describes himself as an impatient soul. In just three years, he has planted nearly 2,000 trees and hedges with our help, as well as a huge variety of aromatic plants and herbs. “It is absolutely possible to feed people while preserving the soil and biodiversity.”
It is absolutely possible to feed people while preserving the soil and biodiversity.
And the latter proved itself just as impatient, bouncing back with enthusiasm. The grasshoppers and moths that had previously deserted the area returned in their droves, and already around thirty different species of bird now call this place their home.
Jan’s objectives are manifold. He aims to show that it’s possible to use nature to feed people sustainably, while also inviting members of the public to soak up the benefits of nature and food forests.
If you want to find out more about our tree planting programme in France and around the world