Jonathan Sharp and the Sombrun Forest Garden Project

Career choices in the 1960’s were Forestry, the Merchant Navy and Teaching. I ended up in Book Design! But in the last 30 years there has been a gradual shift in my work towards things natural and this has included a small organic farm, permaculture, agroforestry, work with indigenous communities in India, Sri Lanka and Africa and a postgraduate course in Tropical Forestry. And then in 2018, the Sombrun Forest Garden Project was born!

The aim is to establish a temperate forest garden from scratch on a small area of land (about 3000m2) in a rural village in south-west France. The principle of forest gardens – also called home gardens – is thousands of years old and predates and includes what we now call organic practice, permaculture and agroforestry. It involves a respect for Nature, producing a wide range of products and ecosystem services on a small area of land, minimising inputs and maximising waste recycling, and above all working hand-in-hand with Nature to improve soils, ecosystems and microclimate.

In these times of uncertainty and change, the Project embraces the practice of stable and sound environmental and ecological principles and will demonstrate not only the efficient production of trees, small timber, fruit and perennial vegetables, nuts, natural medicine, fibres, biomass and compost, but also project planning and site preparation, water management and biodiversity analysis, the importance of trees in the landscape, climate change monitoring, forest succession and much more.

My blog posts will expand on all this over time!