Gardening like a Forest with Dave Jacke

Janelle has returned from a trip through NSW where she had the opportunity to attend an evening presentation -at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (Eora Centre) at George St Redfern- by Dave Jacke , US Permaculture Teacher  Designer and  developer of an in depth Design system around Edible Forest Gardens. Milkwood Permaculture and Nick Ritar organised the event.
One of Janelle’s passions is the development of edible food forests and with 20 odd years experience in the Sub-Tropics has already met up with some of those challenges of early Permaculture Design.
Janelle was completely inspired by Bill Mollison and Jude Fanton after her PDC with Bill Mollison and Jude Fanton in August 1991.She immediatly set to establishing a Sub-tropical Food Jungle in which she lives now.

These are Janelle’s thoughts about the evening:-
Some of the topics which  were covered by the Dave Jacke talk which added depth to my understanding  included:-
A passion for Forest gardens, which could evoke images of an abundant and diverse ecology buzzing with light, food, insects and life force.
He constructively used diagrams and designs from early forest gardens and then presented overlays which showed the improvements he would make.

Dave has reclassified Ecological Guilds into 3 new types and added further layers of clarity to the ways in which organisms interact co-operatively.
My understanding of a guild included Rosemary Morrow’s  use of the Australian indigenous Waru concept .
An Orchard is a guild of interrelated and interdependent fixed and mobile elements which work for the trees and the trees work for them.
Dave deepened my understanding by breaking down the concept of the guild into 3 types of guild.

These included the Community Function Guild “a group of species in the same community niche performing a similar community function”.An example of this could include the Andean Walnut and the American Pecan.- Both of these nut-bearing trees provide shade in a paddock situation for livestock, are deep-rooted mining nutrients from deep in the soil and are nut-producing.
The second type of guild which Dave talked about was the Resource Partitioning Guilds– an example of this might be planting a deep-rooted dandelion as a companion to a shallow-rooted Tahitian lime.
The third was the Mutual Support Guild where we look at the interconnections between plants, pest and predators and design the ecology to support the stability of the system.
The design for pathways with-in the system was also sensitive to both the needs of people and the aim to reduce compaction to the plant roots.

He also really emphasised the need for light in the forest garden system and this can be achieved by the lumpy texture of the forest and I liked the wild design concepts of scatters and clumps.
It is with enthusiasm that I will now go on to retrofit my own orchard and reclarify the principles that I present in my Food Forest and orchards course.

Janelle teaches a Food forest and Orchards short course each year  at Djanbung Gardens

Link to the Dave Jacke Edible Forest Gardens site.

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