Food Forest Abundance: Self-Reliance & Success with Jim Gale
In a world where the population is constantly growing, finding more effective ways to produce food is becoming more critical. One solution gaining popularity through organizations such as Food Forest Abundance is the self-sustaining food forest.
A food forest is a self-sustainable ecosystem in which plants and animals can work together to produce food. Unlike traditional farming methods, there is no need for pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. This makes food forests more environmentally friendly and better for the health of those who consume the produce.
Who is Jim Gale?
On the surface, Jim is a practitioner and believer in sustainable living, freedom, and helping people to live their best lives.
Jim is also the face and driving inspiration of Food Forest Abundance, a site dedicated to helping empower people to become more self-reliant and free through a three-step process.
- Learn what you need both physically and mentally to become self-reliant during emergencies.
- Improve your self-reliance by producing your own food.
- Round out your preparedness by becoming energy independent.
Jim has succeeded by leading a life of introspection, intentional goal setting, and focused effort.
In his introspection, Jim believes in listening to the voices of honest criticism when they add “value to his life, family, community, and world.” It’s his in-depth evaluation of himself that allows Jim to refine his perspective and, in so doing, achieve his goals and stay on the right path.
Jim’s goal-setting mindset began in college and, over one weekend helped transform him from a red-shirt freshman wrestler to the captain of the team and national champion.
His focus on goal-setting can best be summarized by a quote from Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” (Source).
His introspection, goal-setting, and focus have allowed Jim to design freedom for himself and his family.
In so doing, Jim has traveled a path from college wrestling to founding a billion-dollar business and on to living his best life with Food Forest Abundance.
What is Food Forest Abundance?
Food Forest Abundance is the realization of the concept of establishing self-reliance enhancing food ecosystems for the individual and family.
Through the food forests module, Jim and others provide inspiration and solid guidance for people to create food forests that lead to an abundant society and food security through edible landscapes.
Why is the Concept of a Food Forest Important?
In our current age of increasing food instability, food forests and the ability of individual families to produce their own food are becoming increasingly important.
Having your food forest allows you to design freedom from needing regular trips to the grocery into your lifestyle.
When that happens, you not only lead a healthier, lower-cost life, you lead a life of improved confidence and self-reliance.
How Much Food Can a Food Forest Produce?
To figure out how much the food forest abundance philosophy will yield when growing your food in a food forest ecosystem, let’s start with a single fruit tree.
One fruit tree can produce 250 – 1000 fruit per year. So, let’s assume our peach tree has 250 peaches. Besides being 250 peaches worth of food to eat, that is 250 peaches of value.
Is food scarce? The value of those peaches goes up. And, even during non-inflationary times, the peaches will have a value that is often a 100% return on investment.
Guilds are a community of plants supporting one another’s growth and sustainability. When plants are grouped in guilds, plants can experience a growth potential that results in 200% and over return on investment yield.
In other words, when guilds are used per the Food Forest Abundance method, you’ll increase your harvest and grow food that will make you more self-sustainable over the long term.
How Big Should a Food Forest Be?
According to Jim, some families live on a tenth of an acre and produce 6000 pounds of food per year for their families.
However, Jim suggests that, when it comes to feeding a family of four, a half-acre is the ideal compromise between maintenance and free, healthy, and abundant food.
In the end, while the amount of land that you have available along with certain features will dictate what you plant, water usage, and so on, if your mission is to get food forests growing food, you’ll find a way to do the best possible with what you have.
If you don’t know where to start, start by writing down your food forest goals and going from there.
The Advantages of a Perennial Garden
When establishing a permaculture habitat in his food forests of edible landscapes, Jim prefers perennial vegetables over annuals.
Perennials are trees and bushes that you plant once and will grow for generations. Not only will perennials grow for ages, but they can also provide a near limitless amount of offspring that can expand your food forest and feed the world.
On the other hand, annuals include plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins.
Perennial Garden Maintenance
A great byproduct of your food forest ecosystem is that the effort to grow food becomes much more efficient and effective.
Perennial garden-based permaculture allows you to minimize labor and maximize production. So, whether growing food to be prepared for hard times or your own business based on edible landscapes, you’ll be able to achieve your food forest abundance goals more easily.
How Much Time Does it Take to Manage a Food Forest?
Jim believes you can have less maintenance involved in a food forest than lawn maintenance. The caveat to that, according to Jim, is if you want to.
That’s because you can and don’t necessarily need to prune your trees or plant annuals that require regular maintenance.
Jim proposes that most people who do NOT grow their own food, harvest food by going to work to earn money to buy food harvested by others.
In the case of a food forest, Jim proposes your time is spent doing something you enjoy. And as the food is right outside your backdoor, the five minutes it takes to harvest five pounds of sweet potatoes is a value-added undertaking.
Because of that, Jim considers the time required to maintain food forests as an asset.
What Are the 7 Layers of a Food Forest?
When explaining the seven layers of a food forest, Jim explains that a food forest is a “complete forest” that is made up of:
- Underground Layer: Made up of roots and tubers.
- Ground Cover Layer: Plants that thrive close to the ground and often under shade.
- Herbaceous Layer: “Plants found in this layer lack the thick woody stem present in most trees and shrubs.” (Source)
- Shrubs and Bushes: Consists of plants that don’t grow as tall as trees and are generally under 10′. Berries and rose bushes are some of the plants that make up this layer.
- Understory Layer: Trees and bushes between 10′ and 30′ in height.
- Overstory Fruit Trees: Tall trees over 30′ in height.
- Vertical Layer: Vines and such that can climb fences and produce sustainability.
The Bottom Line on Food Forest Abundance
In the article, Food Forest Abundance: Self-Reliance & Success we learned about Jim Gale and many of the benefits of having a food forest. To learn more about creating a landscape of nutrition and resiliency, check out Food Forest Abundance and get started living your best life!
What are your thoughts on food forests or the current food shortages? Tell us in the comments below.