Agroforestry – putting trees in fields, or forestry in agriculture – is seeing a swell of public interest but is, in fact, an age-old approach to mixed farming. Whether it is cows seeking shade under trees or chickens scraping around apple trees, there have been many forms of tee+field in the past and all over the world.
We believe it is a fundamentally important way of growing food because it adds resilience by embracing diversity. This is something that is at the core of our our approach to farming.
We have only just started on our agroforestry journey. Eric, who gained an MSc in Agroforestry and Food Security from Bangor University recently, Jessie, who heads up a community orchard that she is developing into a fruit box scheme and Athene who worked at Ruskin Mill and then Zero Dig, have so far devised and implemented three different agroforestry systems:
Cob nuts in pasture: this is the simplest system, as the name suggests. We have actually allowed space for additional rows to be planted which may be cob or may be something else.
Cob nuts and plums: alternating rows of cobs (double staggered rows) with a range of plum varieties, again with pasture in the alleys.
Walnuts, pears and soft fruit: by far the most complex system (and one we may live to wish was considerably simpler!), this includes red and black currants, gooseberries and even some garlic for luck!
We have more plans up our sleeves and still plenty of planting to do. If you are interested in learning more, or helping out, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org