Food Forest Program

Community Contributed

By Kyle Franks – DHHL Extension Agent

What are food forests and why do they matter?
Food forests are a designed mimic of natural systems succession. The appeal of these systems includes easier long term maintenance, long term food production, soil building via increasing organic matter content, improved microclimates, reduction of water use, and other resources than food – fiber, fuels, and medicine. Many of our community members find this intriguing and have desired to learn more. Based on this need, our team at CTAHR began to develop a program to deliver knowledge and experience.
November 2023, we held an introductory session describing the program in detail. After the session, the registration form was linked with these participants gaining priority in registration. There were many follow-up emails from prospective students, with much information being provided in response. The classes were to be set up as weekly meetings switching from classroom style to hands-on the following week. The hands-on classes were to reinforce the information taught in the classroom sessions.
January 2024 began the first class of 15 students. Each session followed weekly until March 7. The schedule was as follows: topic one – ‘What is a Food Forest?’; topic two – ‘Mapping and Design’; topic three – ‘Cover Cropping’; topic four – ‘Understanding Succession’; topic five – ‘Thinking Long-Term.’ For the second half of Topic Five, a guest instructor was brought in to teach about biofertilizer. This last class was opened to the public with a large turnout of over 45 people. For each topic, an infographic handout was created that gave an overview of the teachings. Each student also received a binder to house all of the class materials and their notes.
The program proved to be a success with students’ learning objectives being quantitatively gathered from weekly quizzes and from student feedback submissions.

Given the success of the inaugural program, CTAHR will be offering this again soon. Stay informed about upcoming sessions by following the Molokai Cooperative Extension Facebook page or reaching out via email to to join the mailing list. In the quest for sustainable living, food forests stand as a beacon of hope, offering not just nourishment for the body but also sustenance for the soul and the planet.


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