What We Can Learn from Wild Food Forest Guilds

You’ll notice in my video today that I’m not on my homestead. Every year, I spend a part of the growing season at our family cabin which we’ve owned for over 40 years. While it’s difficult to tear myself away from the garden and food forest in August, I’m so appreciative of the chance to be in this wild and special place in Northwestern Ontario that’s been part of a family tradition for decades. 

Years before I learned about permaculture, my sister and I (and sometimes our cousins and visiting friends) would douse ourselves in insect repellent and forage for wild blueberries. We’d brave the mosquitoes and scramble over rocks and downed trees to find these tasty treats. Some years the blueberries would be abundant and we’d be able to convert our efforts into a blueberry pie. Other years the yield would be sparse and I’d wish that the prolific juniper berries growing close by were somehow just as delicious. 

When I learned about permaculture and food forests, I realized that I’d spent my childhood summers wandering in a wild food forest. That’s when I started to pay more attention and put on my observation hat.

My video today is mostly just words of encouragement from a beautiful place. In it, I talk about paying attention and using that permaculture principle of ‘Observe and Interact’ when you’re foraging for wild berries or even when you’re just taking a hike. Species that grow together in the wild will often give you clues as to what guilds to plant in your own food forests.

Check out my video to learn more!