Help us create a Food Forest in Italy
We are Sara and Nicco and we have met each other in 2016, in Portugal while co-creating a reforestation project. We are both passionate about nature restoration, permaculture, sustainability and holistic living.
It’s this passion that brought us together and led us to create a non-profit, voluntary Association called ‘The Tree & The Water OdV’, conceived to protect the natural ecosystems and to explore more sustainable ways of living in harmony with nature.
In August 2018 we have invested most of our resources to acquire for the Association 7 hectares of land and an old stone house which we aim to restore and turn into an educational centre. We are based in the Italian Apennine mountains, in the province of Parma.
We are just about to start a project on one of the lands (which measures 0.5 hectares in size) that in the past was used for grazing and conventional agriculture. At the moment the land is very compacted and dry.
Our aim is to transform it into a more biodiverse and resilient ecosystem by creating a Food Forest: a low-maintenance, multi-functional system, which mimics the natural processes of a forest.
Forests are rich and self-sufficient ecosystems thanks to their biodiversity which makes it resilient and stable. If we look more closely at how a forest grows we can observe that it mainly consists of 7 layers:
The plants of each layer play specific and important roles. Some provide shade which protects the soil from drying out (like mosses and grasses), other plants attract beneficial insects, others accumulate nutrients in the soil, etc. It is this rich interconnectedness that protects the forest and makes it such a thriving ecosystem.
Food Forests are designed by replicating these natural processes found within a forest. However, the plants of each layer are replaced with plants which provide nutritious food, medicine, shelter, fuel, crafting materials and aesthetic beauty for the whole community.
So for example big canopy trees (like oaks/pines) are replaced with fruit or nut trees (like pear or chestnut), the shrub layer is filled with berry bushes and nitrogen fixing shrubs, and the root layer consists of perennial and annual vegetables. Such an ecosystem not only provides for our basic needs but it also increases biodiversity, reduces pollution, heals the soil and prevents erosion.
Additionally we are going to incorporate 'swales' into this project: trenches dug on contour which passively harvest and retain the rainwater. Integrating them into the design prevents the water from running off the land, allowing it instead to slowly soak into the soil, gradually increasing the water table level and making it accessible to all the plants and animals.
Bees are very dear to us! We would also love to build bee-hives and include them in the Food Forest. This would allow the bees to have a safe space to live and their presence would help the whole system to grow and establish itself.
We really need your help to make all of this happen!
We need financial support for:
* acquisition of all the seeds, plants and trees
* land works (creation of swales)
* materials for building bee-hives
* camping area for volunteers
* administrative expenses of the Association
By supporting this project you will help us to restore this land and to create a demonstration site where the whole community can gather and learn together about natural farming, permaculture and sustainability.
You can support us through:
· Financial donations
· Sharing this campaign with friends and family
· Volunteering with us: https://www.helpx.net/host.asp?hostid=84633
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about our work or if there is any other way you might be able to help us.
Sara & Nicco
The Tree & The Water
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