This video explains how forest gardens yield crops in a more sustainable and resilient manner.
Students will be introduced to forest gardener Martin Crawford, whose forest garden in South West England produces more than 500 types of edible plants.
The video shows how this form of agroforestry provides natural protection for crops during severe weather events, which are likely to increase because of climate change.
Students will be intrigued by the stark differences between forest gardens and monoculture.
Beautiful cinematography makes this video engaging.
Students should be familiar with the terms temperate, succession, annual, perennial, cultivated, and resilience.
Science classes could design their own forest gardens using the seven layers mentioned in the video (high trees, smaller trees, shrubs, perennials, ground cover, root crops, and climbers). Students could find two or three plant species for each layer of their forest garden and make slideshows to present their gardens to the class.
Biology classes could discuss how forest gardens can fight climate change (e.g., trees can sequester carbon, deep root systems prevent erosion, forest gardens do not require tilling, fertilizers, or pesticides).
Other resources on this topic include this video on the traditional Maya Milpa farming cycle, this Ecosia video on a forest garden in Senegal, and this lesson plan on carbon and food.
Nearly all of the crops that are grown for food are annual plants, meaning they have to be planted every year. On the other hand, in natural ecosystems, 90% of all plants are perennial plants (ones that come back year after year). This video showcases a different form of gardening that is more sustainable than our traditional farming methods. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Science and Engineering
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.