Supporting the living planet
The practice of forest gardening leads to the formation of a close and interdependent relationship between the gardener and the garden. This relationship rests entirely on the need to give up the control we usually exercise in gardens and agriculture (and in fact all our land uses) and to develop new ways to both observe what is happening before us and then to garden empathetically in true partnership with the natural world. The benefits of this relationship are evident in the health, fertility and abundance of the forest garden. From the human perspective a forest garden is full of life, beauty, joy and delight – a wonderful place to spend time in and to feel profoundly connected to.
“As we mimic forest ecology in our gardens, we learn at a visceral level the reality of the ecological principles that govern our lives. How can this not change us irrevocably? We are a species with significant power and authority over other living things. What is the role of a beneficial authority? Is it not to foster the growth, development, health and well-being of those for whom and to whom we are responsible? When we intervene and attempt control, we bear the burden of maintaining that which we cannot fully understand. As we learn to interact with our gardens wisely, respectfully, and consciously, to let the gardens take care of their own business, perhaps we will be learning about our appropriate niche in nature. As we learn to mimic the forest in our gardens, and to find our appropriate niche there, perhaps we can learn to mimic the forest in our society, and our society will find its appropriate niche in nature. Such cultural evolution would truly be a cultural revolution.
Edible Forest Gardens (vol 2) : Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier
Green mind theory
This paper proposes a Green Mind Theory (GMT) to link the human mind with the brain and body, and connect the body into natural and social environments. The processes are reciprocal: environments shape bodies, brains, and minds; minds change body behaviours that shape the external environment. GMT offers routes to improved individual well-being whilst building towards greener economies.
This report from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) highlights how botanic gardens across the world are involved in a variety of projects that use biodiversity to improve human well-being and is based upon an extensive literature survey, and a multilingual survey of BGCI’s members. For the purposes of the report, BGCI has divided human well-being into four main areas: (1) improving healthcare, (2) improving nutrition, (3) alleviating financial poverty, and (4) improving community and social relations. The many case studies within the report illustrate how botanic gardens across the world are contributing to these aspects in many diverse ways.