As long as Steve Gabriel has been learning, practicing, and teaching permaculture, he has been in the woods. His search for sustainable agricultural practices kept bringing him back to the temperate forests that cover the Finger Lakes and much of northeastern North America. Exemplifying the “Get a Yield” permaculture principle, he soon began applying permaculture design to small lot forest management, maple syrup production, growing shiitake mushrooms, and managing livestock in woods and hedgerows.
Recently, Steve has been working with the Cooperative Extension Garden-Based Learning program at Cornell University and has taught workshops with Professor Ken Mudge of the Horticulture Department at the university’s student run organic farm and MacDaniels Nut Grove, a hickory forest planted in the 1930s that is being revived into a demonstration site for forest farming. Steve is also organized the first Permaculture Design Certificate course at Cornell.
Together, Ken and Steve have decided to write a research-based book on forest farming for a broad audiences. With the working title: “Farming The Woods,” they are assembling a volume of practical permaculture and agroforestry strategies, case studies, and a pattern language for people who want to practice this emerging form of agriculture. It will be published next summer by Chelsea Green Publishing.
They have an online survey, seeking feedback from those who are already practicing or experimenting with forest farming. We encourage you to take the survey or to pass it on to others you know who are working their woods for non-timber products. This online survey will shape how they will research and write case studies this summer for the book. It will also begin the core of an online community to facilitate sharing among practitioners, students and enthusiasts.
Most importantly, they are seeking your support to extend the work of their research. This summer Ken and Steve will go on the road visiting farmers who have demonstrated successful farming within the woods. Their stories will be valuable for every reader who is considering or already engaged in forest farming. This will be the first significant collection of recent case studies of the art and science of temperate forest farming.
The rest of the board of FLPCI, encourages you to visit the FarmingtheWoods.com website, to go to their fundraising campaign at Indiegogo, and make your donation. Gifts of over $50 receive a free copy of the book upon publishing as a thank you.
Watch this video to learn more: