We are a not-for profit forest gardening project led by a team of passionate permaculturists. Our garden contains over 200 species of low-maintenance, edible or useful perennials, which are arranged in guilds to mimic natural ecosystems. Our aim is to provide accessible education around permaculture and forest gardens. We do this while working with the local community to create more biodiverse, edible landscapes; healthier habitats for both wildlife and people. Our garden in Finsbury Park provides us with a space within nature to come together and share ideas. We feel that planting forest gardens serves to empower our communities, offering a direct response to issues such as climate change at a grassroots level.
Our current board of directors is made up of a group of permaculture educators and environmentalists, including Jo Homan, Vanessa Morris, Chris Speirs, Sarah Bush, Jane Howson, Alex Sylvester, Les Coupland, and Patrick Maher.
Edible Landscapes London was founded in 2010 by Jo Homan, and became a Community Interest Company in 2017. Our project site has been awarded protected status as an Asset of Community Value. We pioneered the first accredited course in forest gardening, while training hundreds of students in plant propagation, permaculture and other related subjects. We are part of the Permaculture Association’s LAND network, and one of Capital Growth’s regular training sites.
- to provide a wildlife-friendly community space with a focus on environmental sustainability and ‘forest gardening’ – growing food whilst increasing biodiversity and resilience
- to increase awareness of and expertise in forest gardening and environmental sustainability
- to support local community food growing projects by donating propagated plants and offering advice
The project attracts people from many backgrounds. Some come to network with others, improve mental and physical health though exercise and diet, and strengthen links to community. Others have come with a focus on climate change, regenerative agriculture, and the creation of resilient food systems.
What is forest gardening?
Image by Graham Burnett, Spiralseed
Forest garden at Edible Landscapes London, Finsbury Park
Here is and excellent link to find out more information about forest gardening, what it is and how it works.
They say ‘all life’s problems can be solved in a garden’. Forest Gardens provide us with
- beautiful havens for both wildlife and people
- sources of local organic produce
- a closed loop / no waste system, maximising crop yield and minimising inputs
- more resilience to extreme weather conditions
- less reliance on fossil fuels
- mitigation of floods, erosion and pollution
- effective carbon sequestration
- increased biodiversity, soil and ecosystem health
- engaging outdoor learning environments for community education
Martin Crawford’s Forest Garden in Devon
To get a better idea of what visiting a forest garden is like, let us take you on a guided tour. Imagine walking into an orchard that looks a bit unusual… This one is underplanted with berry bushes, lovage, rhubarb, horseradish, mint and strawberries. Paths weave in and out of hidden spaces. You look more closely at the trees, many you don’t recognise, bearing interesting fruit. One has something colourful climbing up it… a sweetpea? Legumes can assist other plants by fixing nitrogen from the air, and feeding them at the root. You notice the garden feels calm, sheltered, there is very little wind. A clump of hazel, half of it coppiced for hurdles, bristles with nuts. Around the corner, a silvery saltbush sprawls around the compost area, and just beyond it, a pond. As you approach, there is a barely-audible plop, as a frog slips away to hide. You sit down on a log to watch, noticing beetles scurrying towards the shady nooks. Nearby, comfrey plants with purple flower bells buzz heartily with bees. How strange… Some of these plant’s enormous leaves have been cut away and scattered around fruit bushes to cover the soil. You lift up a leaf and see that the earth underneath is teeming with life. Wherever you look, whatever height, there is always something edible, something that smells good, something growing that could be useful. So much going on, the space feels bigger than it actually is. Luckily, there are plenty of places to sit and relax…
‘A forest garden is a place where nature and people meet halfway, between the canopy of trees and the soil underfoot. It doesn’t have to look like a forest – what’s important is that natural processes are allowed to unfold, to the benefit of plants, people and other creatures. The result is an edible ecosystem.’
– Tomas Remiarz
ELL in the media
- Permaculture Magazine podcast, Phil Moore blogs about our soil training and community work.
- Blogs about our training from Rachel Dring of Crop Drop and Carolina Stupino of Tastes of Carolina.
- Featured in Jellied Eel magazine.
- Forest garden student, Mary Mc Hugh, featured in the Observer.
- Lorena Vila, blogging on the Friends of the Earth website.
- Neil Baird: ‘Footprints’ – portrait project looking at people’s carbon footprints around the UK including Jo Homan, also on Plaid Zebra and Feature Shoot.
- Pond launch write up from Tottenham and Wood Green Independent
- Jo Homan interviewed by Stefan Geyer from Shoreditch Radio (21st Century Permaculture) on ‘Involving Community’
- ELL article on Transition Network site.
On Google Maps, you can use the postcode N4 2NQ to locate us