Our long-term mission at Hope Farm is create a sustainable food development environment. A major part of that effort is the two-acre edible forest garden that we have begun.
Our garden is approximately 80 meters by 50 meters and represents about 40 percent of our total space. The space that we have chosen for the forest garden was in part a blank canvas with only grass and weeds while the other part of the garden contained a poorly cared for avocado orchard with approximately 50 trees that were said to be about seven years old when we started. The orchid had originally been planted with more than 70 trees, but some had not survived. Some of the lost trees had been replaced with almond and macadamia nut trees. The trees, like most traditional orchards had been planted in rows which was not ideal for our forest garden plans, but we will find a way to work the surviving trees into our long-term strategy.
The centre piece of other part of the garden is a large mandala garden that will span the full width of the garden space. The plan for the mandala garden was inspired by a design in Dave Jacke's book Edible Forest Gardens - Volume Two. The centre of the mandala will have a wooden structure with paths around it. The middle section of the garden is divided into six equal spaces that will have both symmetrical and asymmetrical features. At the centre of each middle section is a chestnut tree and the inner part of each middle section will feature lavender and saffron crocus. The outer most part of the middle sections will feature blueberry bushes. However, within each middle section of the mandala garden you will find a wide variety of culinary and medicinal herbs.