At Richmond Vale Academy we try to have our own food production with fruit forrest and organic garden that is sustainable. We try to buy as less as possible which is for me still to much. But we try to improve the production all the time. The most stable production source is the fruit forest. We don’t buy any fruits and we have every day enough fruits for 30 people.
How many different trees do we have?
The organic fruit forest consists of 22 different trees with a total amount of about 800 trees. Because of a big variety of fruits we have at any time in the year fruits. Right now in season are guava, star fruit, sour sap and papaya. Mango and banana will come soon, and when they do we will be ready. We are constantly in the process on expanding our organic fruit forest, and now we have planted coconut and sugar cane.
How does the fruit forest work?
Very important is that we do not use chemicals. The solution for organic farming is permaculture. This is the main principle at RVA. Instead of chemical fertilizer we take leaves and branches – placing around trees
– which give the nutrition and the carbon back to the soil. So we have no waste. Every ‘waste’ is used. Also important for good soil are support species which give nutrition by itself.
How much effort does it take?
To tell the truth it’s a pretty hard job to keep it in shape. At least once a week three people are working for two to three hours to clean up, cut trees, free them because they were overgrown or plant new trees.
Is it just about fruit forest?
Also included are the pig pen with seven pigs and a chicken house with about 20 chickens. Unfortunately the chickens still get imported food. Therefore the pigs’ food is directly from the fruit forest. They get moringa and guavas.
Right now we have enough animal waste, the chicken, horse and pig manure. We are in the thinking process about how to effective use the waste in the fruit forrest. We mostly use horse manure in the organic garden as fertiliser. The pig manure was turned into a experimental project to see of we are able to create a nursery for plants in the fruit forrest. Also an exiting future project will be to collect the manure and produce bio gas with it.
One week ago we created a papaya circle. Meaning four papayas planted in a circle with a distance of about 1,5 meters and in the middle an almost one meter deep hole. In this hole we put any organic material from the fruit forest. This hole acts like a compost. So it is creating very good soil so the papayas will grow really well.
Indeed the fruit forest safest food production source, however we know how much we still can develop and this will take some time. If we continue how we are working right now it will fast get improved.