A Teaching Food Forest

mintiCommunity gardens, Food, Permaculture

In 2012, MINTI’s regular Food Swaps encouraged us to plan and build an Urban Food Forest next to the FSNLC Community Garden. Joanne Nataprawira, a recent Permaculture Design graduate, and now part of The Desert Echo, had the brilliant idea of combining the garden with a walk-through education experience.

Food Forest Sign

Jo’s plan was to use graphic images to show

* where in the world a plant comes from

* what type it is – where in the canopy it grows

* what conditions it prefers, and how much water

* how it propagates, how more are grown

* how we harvest it

* how we use the plant, its seeds, and fruit


Once the garden beds had been built, and the forest planted out, wooden flip-top displays were installed on stakes next to the plants each described.

Closed Flip-Top – Engraved Plant Name

Open Flip-Top – Photo and Teaching Graphics





Sample Flip Top – Label and Schematic

These are used in three ways.

Casual Visitors – the Flip Tops can be used as people walk through the Food Forest, following the paths, or just to identify a particular plant.

Educational Visits – there is a weather proof letter box next to the large display board. It contains laminated double sided guides to the Food Forest. School and family groups use these for more structured walks through the plants.

Forest Key – Side One

Forest Key – Side Two

Pre-Visit School Activities – The same guide pages are also online on the FSNLC site, with a set of Teachers Notes that could be used in any Nature lesson or School Garden activity.

Online Menu Page

Sample Teachers Guide

Planting Out The Food Forest