Nestled in the indigenous forest of Brackenhurst, you will find ForestFoods our latest partner and visionary within the Brackenhurst campus community. ForestFoods are a pioneer of regenerative farming practices, growing the world’s best food on next-generation farms that recreate the natural world. Work began on the farm in early 2022 and there have already been a number of delicious harvests of fresh produce.
ForestFoods and Syntropic Agroforestry
The world is evolving every day and so is farming. ForestFoods’ approach to farming involves integrating plants, animals and forestry within the farm to recreate a natural environment. This improves the health of the ecosystem and ensures the production of high-quality food.
Syntropic Agroforestry mimics Natural Succession – the tendency for nature to rehabilitate land, taking it from barren to fertile and densely vegetated with a highly organized combination of fruits, nuts, vegetables, timber, and livestock in the same production area.
Brackenhurst Forest and Botanic Gardens is the perfect location for ForestFoods and their Syntropic Agroforestry farming method. We were able to avail a large enough plot (half a hectare) to recreate a natural ecosystem and ensure the farm is sustainable and we had plenty of available matter from the invasive tree species that had been removed and mulched to help prepare the land. The forest management of invasive species in the Brackenhurst forest and understory opens space in the canopy for the entry of sunlight and the development of seedlings of indigenous species, it also provides raw material of excellent quality for ground cover by crushed material.
Advantages of Syntropic Agroforestry
This form of farming can help to maintain soil quality and preserve and recreate ecosystems,
Foods produced through syntropic agroforestry have a higher nutrition density,
It can impact climate change as it involves reforestation, therefore, lowering the amount of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere,
The combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts, timber and livestock in a production area fosters biodiversity in the ecosystem,
This practice is fertiliser, chemical and pesticide-free,
Syntropic Agroforestry produces consistent and quality farm-fresh produce throughout the year combining long-term yields with short-term returns from crops, therefore improving farmer incomes and food security.
A symbiotic relationship with Brackenhurst Conference and Retreat Centre
As Brackenhurst Conference and Retreat Centre, we are always seeking new ways to bring sustainability and hospitality together. Our first conservation project began in 2000 with the restoration of an indigenous forest. Since then, we’ve been passionate about doing all that we can to protect the environment. Integrating the sustainable and forest-friendly farming practices championed by ForestFoods into the Brackenhurst campus opens a new chapter in ensuring the forest is protected for future generations.
As work continues to restore the forest, waste created from the removal of non-indigenous trees can be turned into mulch and reused within our environment. The food grown is used in the preparation of foods for our conferences and retreats and the menu of Muna Tree Café.
Environmental education is a strong point promoted by agroforestry systems. Woodland Star International School have also incorporated the ForestFoods Farm into their curriculum where, on visits, children learn about the foods and farming methods. We also receive visits from researchers and university students interested in learning about regenerative agriculture using the principles of syntropy.
How to get involved and more information
Next time you come to Brackenhurst Conference and Retreat Centre you can book a tour of the farm and then taste some of the delicious and nutritious produce in Muna Tree Café.
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