Forest Gardens


I have been at logger heads with The World Bank for bullying politicians in the Third World to have monoculture agriculture, and financing it, a policy that has led to death and hardship wherever the policy spreads. In an attempt to find the cheapest way of offsetting carbon emissions I came across, their calculator lets you work out how big a donation you need to make to offset your carbon footprint with the planting of trees. The United Nations has a plan to plant a trillion trees to offset 10 years of the planets' carbon emissions; while there are several near-zero CO2 plans out there, this plan would be able to then reverse 10 years worth of vandalism.


Forest Garden


In his book 'One Shot' John Leary explains the concept of the forest garden. Instead of planting mono-cultures using ever increasing expensive fertilizers for diminishing returns by way of crops the farmer's field is planted at the underused perimeter with three rings of trees before a crop for every month can be planted, usually this can start within two years. Of all the degraded land in the world 35% is due to overgrazing, 30% is due to deforestation, and 28% is due to poor agriculture, the forest garden fights all three. The forest garden involves designing and implementing an agricultural system where all the inputs, products, by-products, and processes improve the health of the land, those who farm it, and the communities that depend on it.

The outermost row is thorny trees or bushes planted very close together to form a thick wedge to stop grazers; the middle row tends to consist of fast growing but sturdy trees that give the the living fence the structural integrity required to support the many thorny branches that are eventually interwoven; the inner row are fast growing trees to form a multi-purpose windbreak, the limbs of which can be used for firewood. The trees provide food, medicine, firewood, and forage to feed the animals, which is very good as the trees take the nutrients from the soil deep below and pump it up to their leaves. On the field itself, a variety of grafted trees and crops can then be grown. The roots of the trees also funnel water back into the ground, strengthening the field's resistance to both flooding and drought. The food diversification means one crop failure is not a disaster, like a monocrop would be.

The thin topsoil in Africa is due to agricultural intensification and overgrazing by roaming livestock that eat all tree seedlings and compact the soil. Once the forests and trees are wiped out, the soils erode, the watersheds dry up and nothing will grow, so communities face collapse. With the Forest Garden people get a balanced diet, for their families, and for the people that buy their excess produce at the market. Before the Forest Garden is created 83% of the farmers were food insecure, after just one year it was 14%.


Forest Garden Potential


It costs $640 and 4,000 trees to create one forest garden that sustains 9 people, and $3,000 are made from the forest garden each year, where, due to the economic multiplier the money is passed around the poor in the area several times before being lost to taxation. Compare this with a World Bank project like a $1 billion dam, where the poor locals do not see the water or the electricity because it is sold off to neighbouring countries to finance government spending. If the United Nations uses it's money to plant a trillion trees, and they are all in forest gardens then the economics of this would be earth moving.


A (US)Trillion Trees


If all the UN trillion trees were in Forest Gardens it would cost $160 billion of investment, for which there would be a return every year of $750 billion (not including the economic multiplier, most of it going to the poor. This would feed 2.250 billion people, a price worth paying even if you need to have the target of offsetting 10 years of carbon emission before you do it.



15% More Trees are Planted with Equilateral Triangles



'Crow's Footing' (see mathematical proof) was invented by my grandfather, Stanley Buxton. Instead of planting seeds in a set distance between rows we can use equilateral triangles to plant the seeds. The rows are closer together but the seed rows are planted out of sync with the rows on either side. In this way he found it possible to increase food production by 15% on his market garden. This is an interesting statistic for those with 'green fingers' and I have been campaigning to have it used in the Third World for many years. Less rain is needed to keep the trees alive so it is a great adaption in the Climate Crisis we now have.


Charity is an Endorphin Buzz

It has been found that people get an endorphin high when doing charitable things, and also while listening to their favourite music. Here I suggest that you do both at the same time. Not everyone has the finances to give to charity, and not everyone has time to do some volunteering, if this sounds like you then I have an alternative that works. There is such a thing as “click to give” on the internet, you click a button and someone else makes a donation on your behalf. The website I suggest that you use has a variety of subjects that will interest anyone, Hunger and Poverty, Health, Education and miscellaneous, Environment, and Animals.

It can be frustrating to see the Amazon on fire, or your email inbox filling with requests for finances, but with we can both make a difference and improve are mental health. One lady I met online said that she managed to both donate $100 a day in this way and feel much better herself.

Another simple way to give is to make your search engine on both phone and computer, who also have an app, it plants a tree every time you do approximately 45 internet searches, or an average of 1 pound (0.45 KG) of CO2 reduction with every search. We cannot all afford to get arrested at Extinction Rebellion protests but we can both play our part, and get our endorphin boost with an activity that we would be doing anyway.