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An Inspiring Food Forest

Back in December, my son Jonathan and I visited our friend Dan in Mississippi. While we were there, we took a day trip down to the Gulf Coast neat Biloxi to visit one of Dan’s family members, Ken. What started out as a simple visit with little expectations turned out to be something amazing.

From the front, the house looks like a typical suburban brick ranch like most of the other houses on the street. We exited the house through patio doors into the back yard. What we found there was stunning.

An above ground pool, which I was told had fish in it from time to time, was the first thing I saw. That was a familiar site to me, since we have fish in our pool. There was a greenhouse, a kitchen garden, and perennials everywhere. What jumped out at first were the Kumquat trees. Ken explained that these could be eaten skin and all, which we quickly tested. They were awesome. I love to eat things right off the plants, which you can do safely in a permaculture food forest.

Kumquats

Kumquats

As we walked around, I was so impressed with all the established perennials. The back yard was a decent size – at least that’s what I thought at first. As the tour continued, I realized the yard seemed to go on and on.

The farther we went, the more new features Ken showed us. There was a small pond. A large garden bed. A huge compost pile. At the back of the fence line, the property widened. Ken and his wife had acquired part of the neighbor’s back yard a few years ago. Back there, we found palm trees, bamboo, and more plants that I didn’t even recognize. There was even a miniature pony peering through the fence from a neighbor’s yard.

A Beautiful Property

A Beautiful Property

A Variety of Plants

A Variety of Plants

Abundance

Abundance

When I thought we might be at the end, we found 2 chicken coops and a large open area for kids to play. I think Ken said he has spent about 25 years developing the property, but it showed me what is possible when you keep working at it slowly and improving things.

By the time we finished the tour, I was overwhelmed by what I’d seen. This suburban back yard was remarkable. Seeing it inspired me to continue with the plans we have for our property. When I see how our food forest has changed over the last couple years, I get excited every time I think about what it might look like after 25 years of development.

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