Chelsea Green Publishing

The Community Food Forest Handbook

Pages:224 pages
Book Art:Black-and-white illustrations throughout, 16-page color insert
Size: 7.5 x 9.5 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586443
Pub. Date June 08, 2018

The Community Food Forest Handbook

How to Organize, Plan, and Develop Edible Gathering Places

Availability: Available for Pre Order

Paperback

Available Date:
May 25, 2018

$24.95

Collaboration and leadership strategies for long-term success

Fueled by the popularity of permaculture and agroecology, community food forests are capturing the imaginations of people in neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the United States. Along with community gardens and farmers markets, community food forests are an avenue toward creating access to nutritious food and promoting environmental sustainability where we live. Interest in installing them in public spaces is on the rise. People are the most vital component of community food forests, but while we know more than ever about how to design food forests, the ways in which to best organize and lead groups of people involved with these projects has received relatively little attention.

In The Community Food Forest Handbook, Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell dive into the civic aspects of community food forests, drawing on observations, group meetings, and interviews at over 20 projects across the country and their own experience creating and managing a food forest. They combine the stories and strategies gathered during their research with concepts of community development and project management to outline steps for creating lasting public food forests that positively impact communities.

Rather than rehash food forest design, which classic books such as Forest Gardening and Edible Forest Gardens address in great detail, The Community Food Forest Handbook uses systems thinking and draws on social change theory to focus on how to work with diverse groups of people when conceiving of, designing, and implementing a community food forest. To find practical ground, the authors use management phases to highlight the ebb and flow of community capitals from a project’s inception to its completion. They also explore examples of positive feedbacks that are often unexpected but offer avenues for enhancing the success of a community food forest.

The Community Food Forest Handbook provides readers with helpful ideas for building and sustaining momentum, working with diverse public and private stakeholders, integrating assorted civic interests and visions within one project, creating safe and attractive sites, navigating community policies, positively affecting public perception, and managing site evolution and adaptation. Its concepts and examples showcase the complexities of community food forests, highlighting the human resilience of those who learn and experience what is possible when they collaborate on a shared vision for their community.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Bukowski

Catherine Bukowski is a PhD candidate in the College of Natural Resources and the Environment at Virginia Tech, where she co-taught an agroforestry and whole-farm-planning course that incorporated permaculture principles. She has also earned a graduate certificate in Collaborative Community Leadership from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Catherine previously co-coordinated a forest farming virtual community for the online Cooperative Extension network. She is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Temperate Agroforestry. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, where she worked with farmers and as a change agent for the Lancetilla Botanical Garden and Research Center.

John Munsell

John Munsell is an associate professor and forest management extension specialist at Virginia Tech. His background is in sociology and natural resource management. He also is associate editor of the journal Agroforestry Systems and has served as a reviewer for New York City Museum of Natural History, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. John teaches agroforestry and permaculture at Virginia Tech. He has worked with communities from Appalachia to Cameroon to study agroforestry implementation and associated environmental, social, and economic impacts. He has helped design whole-farm plans incorporating permaculture and agroforestry for properties across the United States.

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In the eyes of many people, the practices of forestry and farming are mutually exclusive, because in the modern world, agriculture involves open fields, straight rows, and machinery to grow crops, while forests are primarily reserved for timber and firewood harvesting. Farming the Woods invites a remarkably different perspective: that a healthy forest can be maintained while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non-timber products. While this concept of “forest farming” may seem like an obscure practice, history indicates that much of humanity lived and sustained itself from tree-based systems in the past; only recently have people traded the forest for the field.  The good news is that this is not an either-or scenario; forest farms can be most productive in places where the plow is not: on steep slopes, and in shallow soils. It is an invaluable practice to integrate into any farm or homestead, especially as the need for unique value-added products and supplemental income becomes more and more important for farmers.

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