As I reestablish myself on a new continent, I’m excited to finally find myself in a place where a book like “Tree Crops—A Permanent Agriculture”by J. Russell Smith (published in 1920’s and this link downloads it free ) is applicable (because of the variety of trees available and the suitability of the climate)
Much of what J Russel Smith wrote about in 1920 is still valid today,nearly 100 years later. We are still experiencing large amounts of soil loss each year through industrialized agriculture which renders the soil sterile and lifeless and subject to large scale erosion by wind and rain. We are still missing out on huge opportunities to use less desirable land to grow food in the form of trees, without tillage, without irrigation, without massive amounts of energy and pesticide inputs based on fossil fuels.
The work which he started and encouraged us to continue ( ie: the development of crops suitable to be grown in forest settings and steep terrain) is still going on by a few devoted, passionate individuals.
I’ve come across 2 individuals which continue his work and have commercial operations to offer the products of their work and to support further experimentation. Each offers unusual and rare options for tree cropping in climates suitable for North America
In Canada, Ken Taylor of Green Barn Nursery focuses on cold climate varieties which are well suited for short growing seasons with long, cold winters. The fruit trees bloom later, fruit develops fully in the time available and can endure the low temperatures found in the climates of the northeast. Ken’s pet project is to reintroduce paw paw (Asimina Triloba – picture above), a native, tropical like fruit to our orchards and yards.
In the US, Ken Asmus of Oikos Tree Crops
Ken notes that “There are over 15,000 species of plants that have been used for food by man. Only 150 of these are commercially cultivated.”
[Note to anyone named “Ken” – this is obviously your line of work!]
I encourage you to check them out, learn about their work and perhaps invest in the future by considering planting trees for food instead of for ornamentation or using annual crops for food.
-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau