The International Forest Garden Symposium

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No. 4 in an occasional series of articles covering agroforestry-related topics in greater depth

The First International Forest Garden Symposium (see Blog, June 1st, 2021), which ended on June 4th, was a huge success and raised many important issues, and it brought into sharp focus the significance of agroforestry/forest garden systems in the current difficult environmental situation.

The Symposium also marks the coming of age of the temperate forest garden as a discipline (and of online conferences, come to that, a fine job!). Agroforestry and forest gardens in general have been shown to be a realistic alternative for sustainable food production, ecosystem management and biodiversity (in the tropics this has been known for many thousands of years), and those who still consider it be ‘hobby farming’ would do well to think again! The coverage and scope of the event was huge, with speakers and attendees from all around the globe, and the organisers (Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust in Devon, UK, and his team) are already talking about the next one, probably in early 2023.

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Dry July!

I would like to dedicate this month’s blog post to James Lovelock, who celebrated his 101st birthday a few days ago. By any measure an extraordinary person, this independent scientist/inventor/engineer has been publishing original and challenging ideas on the future for our world and the planet for half his life (yes, 50 years), shows no sign of letting up, and just keeps on getting better! The paperback edition of his latest book Novacene (2019) – my bet is that the name will stick – was published on Thursday, and he is already working on the next one.

With two doctorates and innumerable awards over his lifetime, he was employed by NASA in the 1960’s inventing equipment for space exploration, and famously designed and built a ‘homemade’ gas chromatograph in three days (the Electron Capture Detector), a highly sensitive instrument which measures industrial poisons in parts per trillion, signalling the dangers of CFC’s in the 1970’s and revolutionising our understanding of the atmosphere and pollutants.

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