After postponing the Food Forest Tour 2 times due to lockdown restrictions in Greece, we managed to do many of the events this summer 2020 with some adjustments.
While we supported projects to plant the biggest amount of trees during spring when its the best time to plant (besides autumn), we did also some of the events to spread the techniques and principles with many people, without though planting a lot.
The projects that did not plant in spring, will do so in autumn, and we will hopefully also be able to do the events in the places where they did not happen yet.
We stay agile in these times of uncertainty. Just one thing is certain - We will plant!
What is the Food Forest Tour?
The Food Forest Tour is a series of events in community places and organizations all over Greece that share our mission. In this events, we share knowledge on how to grow food in abundance and in harmony with nature, mimicking a natural forest system, and in which we actually plant a food forest in the hosting organization.
Due to lockdown restrictions many of the projects planted already in spring, which is far better for planting then June and July when public events will be allowed again. We will though share knowledge and get to know other works in a food forest that help regenerate our eco-systems and the soil, we will get to know permaculture and we will connect with each other.
A unity project
Also the tour has as a mission to unify with people and projects from all over Greece and abroad. To strengthen the network of people and projects that actively contribute to building a better today and tomorrow, that are not afraid to seek new ways and have a bold vision for the future and that put their words to action!
Food forests mimic natural forests but consisting primary of plants that provide food. Mimicking the forest has the benefit of having an autonomous system that doesn't depend on inputs from outside, it creates soil and provides habitat and thus contributes to biodiversity in plants, insects and small animals besides a lot of other services.
Funding the tour:
We are very grateful for Helidoni foundation to fund our Food Forest Tour.
Events that happened already
Free and Real Project, Evia Island
17/18. July 2021
Free and Real, in the context of the Telaithrion venture and in collaboration with The Southern Lights is organizing this three day event with the purpose of strengthening the forest garden in the Telethrion Project's land with many extra fruit trees and other supporting species.
The purpose of this specific three-day period is to continue the planting of an ever growing variety of trees at the Telethrion Land and together we will learn about permaculture, food forests, how to regenerate the soil, how to plant a food forest and also how to multiply our plants. In the Telaithrion land we will plant around 300 new trees applying natural farming and permaculture methods reinforcing the forest garden and the micro climate of the area.
This food forest planting is a collaboration between food forest and theater on a mission to spread the seed of change, give hope and inspire through another medium, which is artistic expression. The food forest planted in Laggorachi will serve as an alternative location for the theater group from Thessaloniki, which will be used for events with kids and not only, to find their connection with nature and themselves, while discovering where their food could come from. It connects the city of Thessaloniki with the rural area of Laggorachi and creates an exit channel out of the city for people.
This young project in the island of Skiathos is creating a free learning space for young and old in nature, of which the food forest will be an essential part, to discover biodiversity, nature and one selves. We are happy to support this initiative and set a green bio diverse start to this project.
In a pedagogical and creative way, the Southern Lights is teaching small children the basics of permaculture and planting trees. The little ones will hear a lovely tale on the journey of high layer trees looking for company and creating long-lasting relationships with medium and small layer fellows. Creating and reinforcing the link between the origin of the fruit and the tree itself is what matters the most and drawing about them will let the children express their feelings on nature. We believe in the process of learning surrounded by nature as it broadens the vision.
Plantings that happened without events during lockdown
NISI camping, Raches
NISI camping is planting a food forest that will be visited by many many people that are visiting their place, school classes, sports events, cultural events and many more attract a lot of people almost all year around. We are happy to bring the food forest close to so many people.
This event is very special, since it is uniting The Southern Lights project and A-fthonia project which share a long common history and more specially, the Free and Real crew will join us in this event, which is the place both this projects came together in the first place. It symbolized once more the unity character of the tour, uniting our forces overcoming competitive attitudes still prevailing in many areas of society.
A-fthonia project started planting a food forest in the frameworks of our North Tour, and even though we could not come due to the lock-down, they still planted 300 trees.
We are happy this time to support them in their efforts to become self-sufficient and to figure out how to do regenerative farming in this very rough conditions with an annual rainfall of roughly 450 mm and super windy conditions. We have to choose the design and setup wisely and learn and observe.
Our friends from Afthonia project in Lemnos are unstoppable. All winter long they plant, prune, renovate and prepare for - well .. life. A few days ago they received their bare root plants, and together with their team they will plant them.
This young project has set its mission on creating a healthy, thriving and healing place from scratch, starting from zero, an empty land, in a very intensely farmed area. Setting a bold statement for a natural and regenerative way of farming in this area is very important. We are happy to support them in their effort and to see how to implement regenerative farming techniques in again a different setting.
To our great pleasure and honour we were part of designing and implementing a new agroforestry aka food forest with the support of Helidoni fund and the great help of our European Solidarity Corps volunteers in the new eco-project Dharma Sporoi as part of our Food Forest Tour.
Planting a food forest in a beautiful property in the center of Megalopolis is setting a bold green sign for how we as citizens imagine our future. Due to the electric company and the coal mine, Megalopoli is usually rather in the minds of people as a not very green-minded place. A reality which some of the citizens refuse to accept. Further as being in the center of Peloponnese, it has a strategic geographic position, many people pass by, stay there for one night, so having a food forest in this place offers the chance for a lot of exposure to the broader community. For coming Autumn, we have planned to implement a big food forest in a land directly visible from the road that belongs to this organization.
The plants have also arrived in Crossroads project in Megalopoli where the team there will plant a food forest on 1 ha of land. We look forward to their updates.
Plantings and events that did not happen yet
Calme garden Evolving cylces, Lagonissi Attica
In evolving cycles project the food forest will be part of their protype of an eco cultural center that can act as a lifelong educational foundation. We are happy to co-create with these amazing people and spread the seeds of change and see them grow.
Gerania project, Loutraki
Gerania project is a beautiful project following natural farming principles and the Taoist way of living. It is also hosting a tai chi and kung fu school that is showing another way of personal development, cultivating the earth and through this cultivating the spirit.
The founder and leader of this project is from the first organic farmers in Greece, that was also very close to Stavros Darmos, the owner from whom we inherited our land. We feel grateful to unite our paths with this person and his project.
This project became a pilot farm of the Regenerative Farming Support Program instead