The Amsterdam Zuidoost food forest

By Debra Solomon

Located in the K district of Amsterdam’s Bijlmermeer neighbourhood, the Amsterdam Zuidoost Food Forest is a 55-hectare area now being designed, implemented, and maintained by a group of active locals. The group includes people aged 26 to 82 that are representative of the area’s diverse backgrounds.Together they form a ‘community of practice with a wide range of knowledge and talents in gardening, permaculture, agroecology, regenerative agriculture, technology, urban landscape maintenance, management, sewing, cooking, and food conservation techniques, but also marketing and communications, art, sports, education, and neighbourhood history. The community of practice also interconnects the networks of the individual members in order to strengthen support for the food forest project when many hands are needed. Valuable connections have been made with the area’s community gardeners, and many related neighbourhood organisations whose work focuses on health and well-being.

What is a food forest?
Food forests are the oldest form of agriculture, which is still widely practiced, especially in the southern hemisphere. An established food forest reproduces gaps in the forest and forest edges, where most of the biodiversity can be found. From a plant-technical point of view, a food forest consists of 7 planted layers: tall trees, lower trees, shrubs / shrubs, climbing plants, herb layer, ground cover and tubers / bulbs. Some add a separate underground fungi layer, and water boards to this list and on 9 layers. A food forest is park-like and very suitable for urban public space.

A food forest is a timekeeping in an ecological succession, that is to say that instead of allowing nature to take its course, which would create a dense, dark forest, a specific development phase is maintained through management. After the initial study and implementation period, a food forest requires relatively little maintenance.


Debra Solomon

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