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Ancestral Food Forest

A Family Farm with Spirit

Apis Atabey's 1.5 acre Ancestral Food Forest began as a persimmon orchard operated by the previous owner. When my family arrived there were several other well-established fruit trees such as loquat, pecan, fig, mulberry, and Peruvian cactus apple! After just one year, our family has planted over 100 varieties of edible herbs, shrubs, and fruit trees.

The main crops produced in the forest are ancestral foods used in Caribbean and African heritage. These include plantain and banana, cassava, yautia (taro), sweet potato, okra, papaya and all sorts of culinary and medicinal herbs used in traditional healing remedies.

A food forest is a popular concept in permaculture studies that has deep roots in the Amazonian traditions of earth tending. Layers of various dimensions merge to create a complex and complimentary system of interconnected relationships. For example, the fruiting Papaya in the photo is partially shaded by live oak trees towering in the canopy, is being fed nitrogen by the gandules (pigeon peas) in the background, and the surrounding ground is covered and kept moist by the prolific oregano brujo.

Everything and everyone has a role to play.

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