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Temperate Agroforestry: How Forest Garden Systems Combined with People-Based Ethics Can Transform Culture


  • Paul Wartman

    (Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada)

  • Rene Van Acker

    (Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada)

  • Ralph C. Martin

    (Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada)


How can transforming monocultures to diverse polycultures address and solve the intersecting issues of our food system? This literature review offers community resources, practical examples, and academic research to support the shift away from monocultures, and the broader social contexts that encourage them, and towards food systems as part of cultures that prioritize people, water, and the land. Forest garden systems are presented as a temperate agroforestry-based food system design which make use of multiple perennial plants to meet human needs for food, medicine, fuel, and more while regenerating the environment in which they grow. There is a lack of peer-reviewed research in temperate forest garden systems, but it is gaining momentum alongside an increasing application in non-academic contexts. Combined with cultural principles that prioritize people, the land, and water over profits, forest garden systems are proposed as a pathway for meeting local community’s needs and environmental regeneration.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Wartman & Rene Van Acker & Ralph C. Martin, 2018. "Temperate Agroforestry: How Forest Garden Systems Combined with People-Based Ethics Can Transform Culture," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(7), pages 1-14, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:7:p:2246-:d:155284

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Corinne Valdivia & Carla Barbieri & Michael A. Gold, 2012. "Between Forestry and Farming: Policy and Environmental Implications of the Barriers to Agroforestry Adoption," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 60(2), pages 155-175, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tom Henfrey & Giuseppe Feola & Gil Penha‐Lopes & Filka Sekulova & Ana Margarida Esteves, 2023. "Rethinking the sustainable development goals: Learning with and from community‐led initiatives," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 211-222, February.
    2. Weilung Huang & Si Chen & Xiaomei Zhang & Xuemeng Zhao, 2022. "The Sustainable Development of Forest Food," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(20), pages 1-17, October.
    3. Robson Silva Sø Rocha, 2022. "Degrowth in Practice: Developing an Ecological Habitus within Permaculture Entrepreneurship," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(14), pages 1-23, July.
    4. Christina Schaffer & Karin Eksvärd & Johanna Björklund, 2019. "Can Agroforestry Grow beyond Its Niche and Contribute to a Transition towards Sustainable Agriculture in Sweden?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(13), pages 1-14, June.

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