Showcasing the future of sustainability with the world’s largest permaculture food forest
At over 200 acres, the National Food Forest (NFF) is the most ambitious permaculture project ever undertaken in a national park in the United States. In recognizing the need to restore healthy forest ecosystems and preserve historic vistas in Piscataway Park, the Accokeek Foundation aims to restore the park’s unique cultural landscape with this comprehensive vegetation management plan.
By integrating heritage breed animals and community members in the stewardship of the park’s natural ecosystems, the Foundation will educate visitors about the abundance of native fruits, nuts, roots, and other plants that provide sustainable options to feed the world.
In the mid-Atlantic region alone, about 280 exotic plant species have been identified, and these plants cover 5% of national park land nation-wide. They compete with native plants for limited resources and often choke out the competition and create “monocultures” that have little ecological value.
The NFF experiment will explore integrated ways of managing park land to restore the native biodiversity that is so important to maintaining a healthy forest for the native plants, animals, and people that depend on it.
The National Food Forest experiment will begin with the creation of three one-acre demonstration areas: a food forest, a savannah pasture, and a meadow. These three ecosystems each represent a different indigenous landscape and play a vital role in the creation of the National Food Forest in Piscataway Park. The experiment aims to build healthy soil and healthy habitats and preserve historic spaces that are rapidly disappearing. It aims to bring the community together in the creating and stewardship of these landscapes. And it aims to accomplish the following goals:
Provide food and shelter for people and wildlife.
Restore native plant communities
Protect the viewshed and the native plants that comprise it
Steward a landscape that serves as a recreational and educational space for the community