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The Community Food Forest Handbook


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Table of Contents

Section 1: The Fundamentals
Chapter 1: Community Food Forests in the United States
Chapter 2: The Role of Agroecology
Chapter 3: Systems Thinking and Community Assets
Chapter 4: Community Capitals and Food Forests
Section 2: Getting Started
Chapter 5: Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park
Chapter 6: Understanding Public Space
Chapter 7: Building Social Systems
Chapter 8: Critical Community Reflection
Section 3: Planning is a Process
Chapter 9: Basalt Food Park
Chapter 10: Planning Fundamentals
Chapter 11: Planning for Change
Chapter 12: Deep Rooting
Section 4: Impact Through Action
Chapter 13: Beacon Food Forest
Chapter 14: Useful Design
Chapter 15: Bloomington Community Orchard
Chapter 16: Collaborative Leadership
Chapter 17- Looking Back, Going Forward

About the Author

Catherine Bukowski is a PhD candidate in the College of Natural Resources and the Environment at Virginia Tech, where she co-taught an agroforestry and whole-farm-planning course that incorporated permaculture principles. She has also earned a graduate certificate in Collaborative Community Leadership from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Catherine previously co-coordinated a forest farming virtual community for the online Cooperative Extension network. She is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Temperate Agroforestry. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, where she worked with farmers and as a change agent for the Lancetilla Botanical Garden and Research Center. John Munsell is an associate professor and forest management extension specialist at Virginia Tech. His background is in sociology and natural resource management. He also is associate editor of the journal Agroforestry Systems and has served as a reviewer for New York City Museum of Natural History, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. John teaches agroforestry and permaculture at Virginia Tech. He has worked with communities from Appalachia to Cameroon to study agroforestry implementation and associated environmental, social, and economic impacts. He has helped design whole-farm plans incorporating permaculture and agroforestry for properties across the United States.


"The increased interest in botanical sanctuaries, forest gardens, and nurtured edible gathering places is a sign that many are seeking to rekindle our relationship with these spaces as caretakers in these modern times. Learning how to nurture food forests builds community resilience, engagement, health, and stewardship. The Community Food Forest Handbook is perfect for townships, urban planners, landscape designers, community organizers, land trusts, permaculture enthusiasts, and foragers who aspire to dig in and seed our future. Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell have created a timely, well-researched guide that provides plenty of hands-on tools for advocacy and implementation based on diverse case studies from across the country. In the spirit of Robert Hart's classic Forest Gardening, it gives hope to see the community food forest trend rapidly resurging."-Susan Leopold, executive director of United Plant Savers

"The Community Food Forest Handbook opens the door to a new, rapidly expanding approach to agroforestry in urban areas and communities. Rather than focus on the technical aspects of planting and production, Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell address sociological challenges inherent in planning and sustaining community food forests, as well as potential solutions. The result is a comprehensive resource for adapting practices traditionally applied to privately owned rural land for the enrichment of community-managed greenspaces."-Susan Stein, director of National Agroforestry Center of USDA Forest Service

"Wedding community renewal with agroecology, Bukowski and Munsell offer us a remarkably rich harvest of wisdom from a quarter of a century of insight and struggle in the community food forest movement. First fruits are everywhere consumed to nourish the spirit, reward unlikely heroes, and propitiate success. Partake of The Community Food Forest Handbook, and celebrate permaculture taking hold of America's imagination: from Seattle to Asheville, Syracuse to San Francisco, and in dozens of cities across the fruited plain, perennial culture is rising."-Peter Bane, president of Permaculture Institute of North America

"As communities seek both to grow food and to solve social and environmental problems, they need new insights into the ways in which people self-organize to initiate projects and sustain them in the long term. In The Community Food Forest Handbook, the authors offer a highly useful guide based on the collective wisdom of people and communities who are defining this practice as they develop it on the ground. The thoughtful analysis of planning strategies and numerous case studies of active projects help us all understand what community food forests are and can be for the future."-Steve Gabriel, author of Silvopasture and coauthor of Farming the Woods

"It's great to see a book about food forests / forest gardens which concentrates on community-scale projects. These need design and management not only for the growing system itself, but also for the human community that nurtures the forest and is often much neglected. The Community Food Forest Handbook does an excellent job of tackling the social issues and includes some highly informative case studies of community projects."-Martin Crawford, director of Agroforestry Research Trust; author of Trees for Gardens, Orchards, and Permaculture

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