Creating A Forest Garden #4 2015 *Intense*


Link to our nascent forest garden project in Spain.

Definition of PEAK OIL

FOOD SECURITY Caroline Lucas on peak oil and food security

CLIMATE CHANGE AND FOOD SECURITY Met Office reader-friendly report on climate change and food security *** George Monbiot linking UK flood damage to maize production  *** Guardian article on impact of climate change on food security

FOOD PRODUCTION film 'Our Daily Bread' (1.09 GB) (thanks Laura)

BIOMIMICRY food production, forest gardens, perennial grains (thanks Laura)

ECOSYSTEMS paper on ecosystems and stability (thanks Laura)

TAXONOMY What's the difference between a cultivar and hybrid?

TAXONOMY & PLANT ID Online plant ID name flash cards (thanks Nick & Damian)

List of plants we cover and notes (thanks Alex)

DESIGN PROCESS photos of the SADIM process from Claire White

BOTANY UK seed germination toolbox and the medicinal plants names services. What incredible resources!

INDOOR PLANTS recommended plants: 1) Areca palm, 2) Mother-in-Law's Tongue 3) money plant and TED talk Kamal Meattle: How to grow fresh air (thanks Ilka)

SOIL from the last CAFG course - a video Lewis's talk about nutrients in soil  (thanks Jerome)

SOIL Life in the soil film - in Spanish.

SOIL AND PLANT CHOICES Dynamic accumulators (thanks Patrick)

SOIL AND WATER including a wonderful demonstration of the closed loop system of water (thanks Eugenia)

Plantastic on Ted talks (thanks Maia)

FOOD PRESERVATION Lactofermentation article

And of course there's Plants for a Future Database, the Agroforestry Research Trust and plenty more....

Course Information

Forest gardens are a way of growing food in a low-maintenance, productive polyculture which makes the most efficient use of space and natural processes. Learn all about forest gardens and gain a qualification (if you wish) on this exciting course! We have learned from the previous three courses that an intensive format works best for us, so we are running week one in July and week two in October, with 5 tutorials in between. You can gain 16 credits, a nationally recognised level 2 Award in Horticulture and a new unit 'Creating A Forest Garden'. This course is for people who are passionate about plants, especially the edible ones. We cover many things including:

  • why forest gardens are an essential ingredient to future food production in the UK
  • studying loads of forest garden plants, including learning the Latin names of about 40
  • how to care for, propagate and eat these plants
  • the science behind soil, fertility and plant nutrition
  • how to design and maintain a forest garden
  • log inoculation

NB You will be expected to design a real or imaginary forest garden as part of the course.

The Schedule

  • Pre-course reading and essay written by 8th July - more info below
  • Sat 11th July, 2pm - optional but highly recommended pre-course 'meet the plants'.
  • WEEK ONE: Monday 13th July to Friday 17th July 9am to 4pm, 1.5 hrs directed reading or study at the end of each day.
  • Gap of 12 weeks: complete your own site survey and design... memorise more Latin plant names!
  • 5 Tutorials from 10-12 on Sat 15th August, Sat 5th September, Friday 11th to Sat 12th September (weekend trip to Agroforestry Research Trust in Devon camping over night), Sat 26th September, Sat 10th October.
  • WEEK TWO: Monday 12th October to Friday 16th October.
  • submit final design by 30th October.


The training takes place at Edible Landscapes London in Finsbury Park.
This course is subsidised by the Manor House PACT project and is therefore very reasonably priced.

  • Priority for booking will be given to people living in our target area until 19th June.
  • Those outside the area will be put on a waiting list and told on 23rd June if they have a place.

Check this map to see if you live in the PACT area.

Payment Options

  • £200 / £50 concessions (pay by 3rd July); or
  • 12 days' volunteering at ELL in advance of each session & help tidying up on training days (complete 4 days before course starts, complete all 12 days by 14th September); or
  • 80 Timebank credits and & help tidying up on training days; or
  • 20 North London LETS pledges and & help tidying up on training days
  • if you wish to do the accreditation and you live outside the PACT area you'll need to pay an additional course registration fee of £98.50, which is what Certa charges per learner

Booking form here

What is expected of you? (before the course starts)

Past students have found the course content slightly overwhelming and for that reason, we have found ways to "pre-load" the course as much as possible. We will also ensure that the middle 12 week gap gets used effectively. You will need to be happy to:

  • Buy and read Martin Crawford's book 'Creating A Forest Garden' in advance of the course - up to page 107.
  • Write a pre-course essay, "Research peak oil and climate change and write a summary. Outline the impact of climate change and peak oil on food security." (500-2000 words) Past experience has shown that gaining familiarity with these ideas can be one of the biggest challenges. Your prose style is not important here, you just need to show you understand the key concepts. You could even do it as a fairly detailed mind map. Deadline for this is 8th July.
  • Fully attend all sessions to gain the certification.

Feedback from past students:

  • “practical information about soil and plants, understanding the rationale behind it (climate change, sustainability) and how to do essential procedures: grafting, layering, also plant names and design”
  • "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Such an amazing, enriching experience. This is the kind of course I've been searching for for years and it doesn't exist anywhere else, so it's very exciting and very special! Getting a horticultural qualification may open up new employment opportunities eventually and it was so nice that this was available in my local community and very affordable. The option of paying by volunteering is very helpful financially but also for experience."
  • "A knowledge about forest gardening – yes! Learning about more edible perennial plants and trees, how to identify them and what to do with them – yes!"
  • “It has been fantastic! Jo has been a wonderful course leader. I have loved all the places we've visited and being at ELL. It's been great to meet such a lovely group of people. Thank you to the lottery for funding this wonderful opportunity for those lucky enough to do it.”
  • “A lot of extremely useful and specific detail, passionate and careful and enthused teaching and facilitation and excellent resources and knowledge-sharing.”

Phone 07733 330 379 for more info (during the day).

Event type: