Bringing the Forest Garden Indoors

Humans work hard to hold back succession - mowing, weeding, plowing, and spraying. If the successional process were the wind, we would be constantly motoring against it. Why not put up a sail and glide along with the land’s natural tendency to become forest?

Edible forest gardening is about expanding the horizons of our food gardening across the full range of the successional sequence, from field to forest, and everything in between. A forest garden is an edible ecosystem, a consciously designed community of mutually beneficial plants and animals intended for human food production. By bringing your forest garden into the greenhouse, you are provided with food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, flowers, fungi, and pharmaceuticals all year round!

I will feature case studies from both my 30 year old permaculture demonstration site, and larger commercial projects I have worked on through my greenhouse design company, in order to show you how and why you should build your own indoor forest garden. We’ve pioneered an active solar heating and cooling system in our greenhouses that will help your greenhouse be near net-zero in energy consumption. These topics will also be covered in my upcoming book, "The Forest Garden Greenhouse," from Chelsea Green Publishers, which will be available at the Conference.


As the founder and director of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (CRMPI) near Basalt, CO, I have built 5,000 square feet of greenhouses, featuring Mediterranean, tropical, and warm-temperate climates, as well as one acre of outdoor forest garden on the steep rocky slopes of Basalt Mountain at 7,200 ft.

I am also half of a greenhouse design company, Eco Systems Design Inc., through which we design solar greenhouses on all scales, from small backyard family greenhouses, to commercial production greenhouses.

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