The food forest at La Closerie de la Beyne

Exciting evolution and growth after three years!

We have begun harvesting our first peaches from the food forest and are amazed at the transformation of a once barren field to an abundant edible landscape in only three years.

In March 2020, thanks to hard work by friends and neighbours, many generous donations to our crowdfunder, and a thoughtful Permaculture design by Djanging, we used the time offered by the first Covid lockdown to plant around 100 edible trees and shrubs (so much gratitude for everyone who made this happen!).

Three years later, after a blessedly wet spring and early summer, we are seeing the first really productive results from the fruit trees.

My Mum and I spent many hours watering them the first summer and since then Vincent has been tending the trees and building the soil beautifully, adding manure (horse and green) and compost and mulch. 

A fertilizer made from horsetail that I foraged has been used on the peach trees too – perhaps that has been the key to this first harvest? We are experimenting and can’t say for sure what is the key ingredient to success – most likely it’s a combination of love and the miracle of nature!

What is also gratifying is seeing the diversity of plants that have now appeared in between the trees, the cascade effect of creating a new eco system – from a field that had a handful of plant species that were working hard to restore the soil, to now being so diverse that it would be impossible to count the variety.

Just recently I noticed that two medicinal plants – St John’s Wort and Selfheal – have arrived, and each new plant being that I discover is welcomed with much joy.

And the insects! The whole place is teeming with life…while picking mulberries the other day we loved seeing how many other creatures are benefiting from the fruit and sharing the harvest with them is heart opening. As the saying goes:

“If your garden isn’t being eaten by others then it’s not part of the ecosystem”


So I wanted to share this as a good news story – we can help degraded land to heal, and the results are visible quickly. Planting trees is an investment in the future, but the changes they can bring in the present, even before they reach maturity, is astonishing.