Food forests promoted in south


John Hawkins / Fairfax NZ: Robert Guyton explains the Food Forest idea to Anna Rutherford at the Riverton Workshop yesterday.


Southlanders are being challenged to rip up their lawns and let nature do its thing.

Riverton permaculturalists Robyn and Robert Guyton hosted a food forest workshop yesterday with seven people learning about the theories involved in creating edible forest gardens.

Participants covered territory including the history of food forests, site analysis, zones, layers, soil health and structure, and the range of edible and useful plants people can grow in a cool/temperate food forest.

Robyn Guyton said they wanted to see the region get back to a point where people were producing 80 per cent of their own food – as well as regaining knowledge about natural plant remedies.

The world had sold itself to commercialised production, and it was time to claim production back. Southland could be self sufficient if people used more of their land for producing food.

“Lawns are so last century,” she said.

The day also included a tour of their 15-year-old food forest and was designed to enable participants to have enough information to start their own food forest, she said.

The Guytons said their property was becoming increasingly popular with visitors and groups. Earlier this month they hosted 40 people from the Green Island Garden Club in Dunedin and they host regular school groups, Robyn Guyton said.

The workshops are held monthly or by request.