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Trees and Bushes for Food

Extreme storms, droughts and intense heat waves are impacting food harvests across the globe. All signs point to an intensification of these events, further reducing future yields. More and more farmers are moving away from monocropping, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and toward regenerative farming practices to create healthier, more water-retaining soils.

Except for monocultures, edible trees and shrubs are often overlooked as low-impact food sources. When combined, they create a healthy variety. Plants can be stratified based on their verticality, with larger trees sheltering smaller trees and interspersed with bushes, flowering plants, fungi, and sometimes vines, all available for diverse food production. The goal is solar control. That is, you choose which plants receive the sun for how long and in which seasons. An example is Bird Friendly Coffee. This certification means that his coffee is 100% organic and shade grown, ensuring bird habitat is protected.

There are more than 70 species of perennial tree crops that produce edible food each year while sequestering atmospheric carbon in their leaves, stems, stems, roots, and associated soil. Additionally, some of these grow well in hilly areas, rocky areas, and areas with little rain, i.e. areas not used for food production.

We are familiar with many of these species: fruit and nut trees, berries, artichokes, coffee, asparagus, grapes. Native to the rugged Himalayan foothills, Moringa has edible leaves containing 30% protein and all nine essential amino acids. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried and powdered. The bark, flowers, seeds and roots are also food. Another example is pongamia, a tropical tree that produces beans high in protein and oil. Terviva, a California company, has planted these trees in many locations across the United States.

Regenerative agroforestry mimics natural ecosystems while generating self-sustaining economic and ecological benefits. In California, we transform many vineyards. Napa winery Tres Sabores has nurtured biodiversity in its dry-grown vineyards for 25 years. Pomegranate, pear and apple trees create windbreaks and pollinator habitats. Birds and bats eat insects that damage the vines. Lavender, sage and buckwheat protect the soil. Native oaks cover the nearby hills. As temperatures rise, the trees provide shade at the end of the day, allowing the vines to recover.

Highly productive trees, shrubs, and other woody plants are among the most effective natural sources of carbon sequestration. In addition to food, many such polycultures provide medicines, building materials, fuel, fiber for clothing, and natural dyes. Provides a powerful antidote to climate change. Our inclusive food system produces 34% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so regenerative agriculture, including agroforests, must become the norm .

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