1.5 years ago, we set foot on Gran Canaria with a dream that's turned into a mission. Our goal? To transform our conventional farm into an ecological wonderland, complete with a thriving food forest. This venture isn't just about us; it's our way of living sustainably, treading lightly on the Earth, and showcasing how farming can be a force for biodiversity and reforestation in this semi-barren mountain landscape.
Unveiling the Landscape
Our exciting journey began with an in-depth exploration of the land. We asked questions, took notes, and gained a comprehensive understanding of the lay of our farm. Where did the shadows fall? How did rainwater flow and pool? Armed with these insights, we could make informed choices about where to create our food forest.
The Art of Plant Selection
We harnessed our gathered knowledge to assemble a collection of plant species tailor-made for this island paradise. Our database brimmed with trees, shrubs, herbs, and blossoms, all poised to play a part in our food forest masterpiece. Each plant was meticulously chosen based on its unique characteristics, dimensions, fertility, harvestable products, and ecological contributions, be it nitrogen fixation, pollinator attraction, or pest deterrence. We were vigilant to ensure none of our selections appeared on the island's "black list" of invasive species, ensuring the harmony of our forest.
Mapping Our Vision
Equipped with our accumulated observations and the expansive list of plant species, we dove into the design phase. We imported our farm's map and a satellite image from Google Maps into a computer program called QGIS, crafting a visual representation of our dream. The farm was divided into distinct zones, from solar panels to pine and food forests, a vegetable garden, and a recreation area. Every tree, shrub, and herb was strategically placed on this digital canvas. We invested weeks refining the design, transforming it into a plan we were genuinely excited to put into action.
Navigating Island Plant Acquisitions
With our blueprint in hand, we ventured out to acquire the necessary plants. However, we quickly discovered that many of our selections were not readily available on the island. The local market predominantly catered to standard choices. In the end, we secured roughly half of the plant species we had in mind, forcing us to adapt our design. Some plants were impossible to obtain, while others could be sown ourselves, albeit more slowly, bring our vision to life.