New Brunswick

Sackville group is building edible forests

Community Forests International in Sackville began building edible forests in 2009.

Permaculture is about working with your surroundings and growing edible forests in your own backyard

Estelle Drisdelle and her team spend a lot of time landscaping making sure everything is very far apart lots of mulch in between. (Community Forests International)

Community Forests International in Sackville began building edible forests in 2009.

The design and process is called permaculture and it essentially takes care of itself once planted. 

Estelle Drisdelle, a food and ecology specialist with CFI, said an edible garden uses perennial plants such currants, gooseberries, apples and thyme.

"Those are the things that we see in our gardens, but planted in a way that looks more like a forest ecostem," she said.

"It's designing a system based on the natural world using perennial plants in a way that builds soil and ecosystem habitats and also produces food and medicine." 

Drisdelle says edible forests are perfect gardens for beginners because they can start one with what characteristics they have in your backyard.

"If it's dry and sunny that's culinary herbs we are used to, oregano, thyme and lavender," she said.

If a backyard tends to be shady and wet that means it's suitable for things, such as elderberry and fiddle head ferns, Drisdelle said.