About the KSU Food Forest

  • The KSU Food Forest, in development on 1/3 acre at the KSU Field Station managed by KSU’s Office of Research, will serve as a model of sustainable urban cultivation, and demonstrate the potential of food forest systems to mitigate climate change and promote food security and health. The KSU Food Forest project was created by Geography Professors Dr. Jason Rhodes and Dr. Vanessa Slinger-Friedman, along with Michael Blackwell, Operations Manager of the KSU Field Station.

    • Food forests are designed to mimic a natural forest ecosystem and provide a model of sustainable cultivation. Unlike a community garden, which is typically planted in annuals, a food forest is a planned ecosystem of complementary edible, perennial plants with multiple layers.  Fruit and nut trees comprise the top layer; vines, shrubs, and cover-crops the middle, and root crops make up the bottom. Food forests’ unique contribution to local food systems are their ability to thrive in uncultivated soil or among trees. A well-designed food forest can last for decades and mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, promote water resilience by increasing the water-absorption capacity of the soil, and enhance food security by yielding an impressive quantity of diverse, nutrient-rich calories per acre.  

      Image: By Quercusrobur at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5965942