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Agroforestry

La Valee de Jacmel - Haiti

Restoration of landscapes must go hand-in-hand with the communities of animals, plants, and people. To managed watershed which benefits everyone becomes a protected resource in cultural heritage. When people and sectors of the community are considered and benefit, the restoration efforts are more likely to be sustained and long-lasting. 


The initial restoration itself is quite expensive with many hours and days spent in planning and implementation for its renewal. The long-standing return will only come from community involvement on all levels of development. The Lavallee community watershed restoration is based on sectors of production for the different sectors of the population. High elevations are used to collect water to make sure that it infiltrates to the soil and the water table. This is called a water forest as although the forest products are also harvested, the forest is a priority to increase the carrying capacity of the land and the infiltration of rainfall. Streambeds become perennial rather than only running during extreme weather events. 


Legacy forest areas are for the use of elders in the community for their long-term income through harvesting a lifetime of agroforestry practices. The community forest is built for the benefit of everyone during times of disturbance. This forest, although harvested for fruits, nuts, and perennial crops, is primarily intended for harvesting fibres and timber for the building or repair of homes. Through well-managed and controlled harvesting the trees are coppiced and pollard in order to retain the strength and vitality of a long-term canopy. 


All these forests are intended to protect the soil, increase infiltration of rainwater, reduce flooding, and maintain a constant flow of freshwater downstream beds. Crop and production forests are intensely managed for high and long-term yields of intercropped annual plants along with perennial foods. Unlike the other forests, the land is valued for its gentle slopes and less tendency for erosion when disturbed. These slopes are the primary food source as a result of upland management.

De Salaberry Park Food Forest - Montréal - Canada

Picture yourself wandering through these enchanted paths, where every leaf, every blossom, tells a story of interconnectedness and resilience. Inspired by the timeless wisdom of natural ecosystems, our Food Forests are meticulously crafted to provide nourishment and beauty to all who visit.


Here, diversity reigns supreme, as a tapestry of perennials, shrubs, and fruit trees converge to create a living masterpiece of biodiversity. This multi-layered design isn't just aesthetically pleasing—it's a testament to the power of sustainable agriculture, where minimal intervention yields a cornucopia of flavours and nourishment.

But our Food Forests are more than just orchards. They're vibrant hubs of community engagement and education, where visitors can partake in self-service harvesting, learn about urban agriculture, or simply find solace in the embrace of nature.


Immerse yourself in a sensory journey through our Food Forests, where the air is alive with the scent of edible flower and the promise of a greener, more sustainable future. Welcome to a world where every plant tells a story and every harvest is a celebration of our connection to the land. By our lead Designer Wen Rolland.

Saint-Simon-Apôtre Park Food Forest - Montréal - Canada

Picture yourself wandering through these enchanted paths, where every leaf, every blossom, tells a story of interconnectedness and resilience. Inspired by the timeless wisdom of natural ecosystems, our Food Forests are meticulously crafted to provide nourishment and beauty to all who visit.


Here, diversity reigns supreme, as a tapestry of perennials, shrubs, and fruit trees converge to create a living masterpiece of biodiversity. This multi-layered design isn't just aesthetically pleasing—it's a testament to the power of sustainable agriculture, where minimal intervention yields a cornucopia of flavours and nourishment.

But our Food Forests are more than just orchards. They're vibrant hubs of community engagement and education, where visitors can partake in self-service harvesting, learn about urban agriculture, or simply find solace in the embrace of nature.


Immerse yourself in a sensory journey through our Food Forests, where the air is alive with the scent of edible flower and the promise of a greener, more sustainable future. Welcome to a world where every plant tells a story and every harvest is a celebration of our connection to the land. By our lead Designer Wen Rolland.

"Le Vallon" de Haras De Saint Pair - Normandy - France

Nestled within the picturesque Calvados region lies a visionary 13.7-hectare regenerative agroforestry endeavour, situated at the heart of the historic 'Haras de Saint Pair,' the oldest operational stud farm in Normandy, France. This ambitious project aims to serve as a beacon of sustainable practices and land stewardship for the entire region, offering not only a sustainable food source but also serving as a source of inspiration for regenerative practices. Moreover, it seeks to provide educational opportunities for young minds and enhance the biodiversity of the area.


Led by our Co-Founders, Weruschca Kirkegaard and Sara Garcia, alongside the invaluable support of Mike Lynn and Jessica Robertson, the project stands as a testament to the possibilities of agroforestry. With a primary focus on showcasing seven distinct systems, notably Food Forests, the project aims to cultivate sustainable and diverse ecosystems of edible plants and trees. These systems mimic the structure and functionality of natural forests, creating a lush and vibrant landscape that enriches the surrounding environment.


In addition to the Food Forests, the project boasts an innovative water management design, featuring several large ponds and micro catchments strategically dispersed throughout the site. These water features not only contribute to the aesthetic appeal but also serve to strengthen the valley against the challenges posed by fluctuating temperatures and weather extremes while facilitating the implementation and succession of all agroforestry systems.


Furthermore, a myriad of rewilding efforts has been seamlessly integrated into the design, fostering habitat diversity and supporting a balanced trophic cascade, thereby nurturing a thriving ecosystem teeming with life. Large meadows, extensive riparian zones and mixed hedges, both low and tall, wide and narrow, further bolster these efforts, providing essential support to the various systems in place.

Notably, every decision in the project was meticulously designed with the utmost consideration for the potential toxicity of vegetation to the horses on the estate, ensuring their safety in the event of inadvertent entry into the valley.


Truly an inspiring endeavour, this project serves as a shining example of how regenerative practices can converge to create a sustainable and harmonious ecosystem, enriching both the land and the lives it touches.

Ferme La Geneste - Dordogne - France

Nestled in the valley of Coux-et-Bigaroque-Mouzens this former farm and Walnut Orchard is heading towards a huge transformation to a more sustainable agroforestry system.

Our affiliate partner "Food from the Forest" is starting an impressive demonstration site for Food Forest systems, with plans for an equally impressive tree nursery to service future food forest projects in the region. As part of the transition, a beautiful camping ground and a large market garden will also be implemented to back the project both financially as well as raising self-sufficiency.
Key design drivers so far:

  • Water retention

  • Soil improvement

  • Food forests

  • Market garden

  • Raise diversity and resilience

  • Tree nursery

Dholbajja Central Highlands Restoration Project - India

Upscaling Agroforestry in India. People living in the Central Highlands of India were once deeply connected to the forest landscape and rich biodiversity. Nomadic forest dwellers like the Baiga complemented a diet of seasonal delicacies with sweet potato and maize grown through shifting cultivation. The Central Highlands (India) Restoration Project (CHiRP) is a collaboration between Gond and Baiga communities, Samerth Charitable Trust, Commonland, IKEA Foundation, The Nature Conservancy India, and United Designers.

The aim is to restore and protect 3,000 hectares of land By 2023. Restoring native forests, revitalizing local knowledge and connecting entrepreneurs to an innovative and scalable agroforestry industry. With sustainable income sources based on robust market linkages developed for 1,000 smallholder families while creating biodiversity benefits in the Kabirdham and Durg districts.


Read more here https://bit.ly/2VP2uoP

Crandall Homestead - USA

This property is a wonderful find. A combination of large production fields, wetlands and woodland, steep rocky slopes, two established homesites (one historical and abandoned), a small pond turned into a large reservoir with the help of a well-placed dam, practically every type of growing space you might imagine. United Designers was asked to assess the ecological resources and make recommendations prior to further planning. Wild plant foraging and woodland herbs, mushrooms, and root crops were the intended harvests. Important to the process is the personal resources and skill set required by the inhabitants. As a broad scope of resources is available, they require extensive and well-planned management practices to make good harvests in the narrow windows seasons for each species.


Many may take multiple trips to monitor and harvest at their peak.  Within this agricultural region, it would be advisable to do a water test of the stream and reservoir. A walk up the watershed may reveal many point sources of agricultural run-off, drain tile pipes, or a natural spring (we’d hope). Check dams and small sediment basins would help with water quality as it enters the property as well as a healthy undisturbed, unchanneled wetland or bog. The property has access from the southeast and southwest, but the water features divide the area into two separate sections not easily crossed. It is simple to cross the land during winter or the dry summers. During spring or wet weather movement across the land may be limited. A system of carefully placed and hydrologically sound crossings might be needed in time. During a plant survey, hidden stands of wild Ramps and Bergamot were found and geo-located for later inspection.

Crandall Botanical Reserve - USA

It is not often that you come across a land site that has been untouched for generations. The Crandall Reserve is a combination of conventional farm fields, wetlands, woodlands. The forest floor is filled with ramps, hog peanut, multiple species of ferns, medicinal plants, herbs, and nuts. Bogs of blueberries, cranberries, and tamarack filter the run-off from the fields. The closed canopy holds in the coolness of summer nights and moisture for the delicate native foliage. Multiple plant communities bring a bounty of foraging possibilities. Foraging, however, needs to be well managed and infrequently disturbed.


The nutrient-dense woodland herbs are under great stress to persist. Growth is slow and competition for nutrients is high in this frequently harsh environment. This is why the nutrients are so dense in wild plants. A nursery will start new transplants of threatened species and to augment existing plant communities. Tall fencing will exclude deer and other herbivores from woodland forage plots. Small microclimates suited to specific cultivated crops are intensely planted to leave the remaining area in its native state. Roadbeds are improved to handle increased traffic, visitors, and needed small farm vehicles and equipment. Visitors are restricted to the paths and roads to protect the soil from compaction and seedlings from foot traffic.  The resident stewards map and know the seasonal harvests and best times for picking. Soon engrained into life is seasonal eating and processing to extend the harvest to many months beyond.

Afenbô Communauté - Haiti

In the mountains of South Western Haiti lies the hidden village of Seguin. It is the centre for agrarian trade and resources in the area. Five hours from Port au Prince by road, it is the gateway to the Afenbo Community, another 60-minute walk to a lush valley of subsistence farmers. For generations, the farmers have been self-sufficient and able to generate meagre income from crop sales locally and via the long truck ride to Port au Prince. The goal in helping the residents redesign the valley growing system is to:

  • Make changes to cultural practices and develop new products that will improve soil health.

  • Increase the ecological stability, access, and harvests in ravines and eroded hillsides

  • Build a market within the AFENBO village to bring local trade closer

  • Make the valley healthier, increasingly self-reliant, and a model village.

Fleri Farm - Haiti

Fleri farm in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is one of the few areas of land unpopulated by shanties in the dense population of the nearby city Soleil. With a density of 31,000 people per square mile, there is a great need for intense food production that is also sustainable for long term benefit to the community. The land has large preexisting mango trees under which a polyculture of annual and perennial crops are grown. Each area has a specific function based on its condition and location.


  • Individual fields are used for a rotating list of tropical crops for the community and for sale. 
    Each tree crop is surrounded by ecologically supportive plant species that also provide harvest

  • crops. 
    A hoop greenhouse is used for starting young plants to be transplanted into the various fields as

  • needed.

  • A nursery grows out trees and shrubs for use on the property’s many food forests.
    A soccer field is installed in the north field across the street from a popular church and

  • community centre. A small basketball court is also planned.
    Security fencing surrounds the perimeter.
    Lighting is placed along streets of outlying areas.
    Water storage towers have elevated observation platforms.
    Unplanted areas are used for managed grazing of local livestock.


Today Fleri farm is a thriving #polyculture farm.  Multiple crops of different sizes and types are interplanted.  Crop diversity makes more efficient use of sunlight and nutrients while minimizing the need for pesticides or fertilizer.  Polyculture offers higher potential yield versus mono-crop farming and is easy for community farmers to maintain with basic tools. The canopy includes 2500 #mango, plantain, coconut, papaya, and avocado trees, plus 500 recently planted citrus, #breadfruit, and cherry saplings.  Tall crops include okra, corn, beans, eggplant, sugar cane, yucca, and amaranth.  Shorter crops include onion, peppers, melon, carrot, and peanut.  Support crops including #vetiver, citronella, castor, and chaya help to retain soil, deter pests and build #mulch.

The majority of the harvest belongs to the community farmers. Some are directly used by their families and neighbours, some are sold to local restaurants or markets, and some are purchased by Healing Haiti. Thus, the harvest directly impacts the food security of the neighbourhoods surrounding Fleri Farm.

If inspired pls check out their options for sponsorships and donations at Healing Haiti.

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