The birth of an enchanted food forest

| 21 Jun 2023 | 01:25

Like a germinating seed, creation begins in the dark.

Sometime late 2020, in the still darkness of our pandemic cocoon, just a few years after Bing was diagnosed with cancer and Nav sank into a long and deep depression about climate change, the light of a beautiful vision came to us.

An enchanted food forest.

Yes, that is it, that is where we want to live, for whatever time either of us still have.

A place where we can stuff our face with fruits ripening off tree branches, forage for herbs and medicine, learn to speak the languages of trees, beavers, and woodpeckers, and howl with the coyotes under a hunter moon.

Late last May, we put shovel to soil, and laid some 1,400 seedlings into their new beds on our land in Upstate New York.

It will be a long while before these trees and shrubs grow into the lush forest of our dreams. But the seed of the dream has been planted.

Why a food forest?

Why do any of us do anything? What is the substance of motivation, the arc of desire?

We have studied with the best and brightest pioneers of regenerative agriculture, experts of ecological science. We understand the science of why a thriving forest food system is so much better for our world than conventional agriculture.

But our personal whys for choosing to plant trees didn’t start there.

We didn’t set out to become farmers or permaculture experts. Instead, something tugged at our heartstrings, inspired our sense of beauty, touched that place outside of words and logic where our deeper selves live.

We could feel just how lovely it would be to watch a chestnut trees grow, to stroll inside a forest picking apples, to live among hickories, walnuts, bumblebees, robins and earthworms. To walk barefoot on the Earth and know that we are part of its vitality.

Contrast this with the feeling of standing next to a thousand-acre corn field.

Our intuitive sense for what feels enlivening, as it turns out, is also what science can definitively show is better for the planet.

It’s almost as if... we can trust our hearts to lead us, even before there is data to prove it.

There’s so much giddiness today around creating “virtual” worlds and “artificial” intelligence. We’re choosing to nurture actual ecosystems by listening to the guidance of natural intelligences all around us.

This is the living art we are creating, the devotional gift we are giving to ourselves and to this beautiful world.

Follow Bing & Nav’s journey on their blog Hymns from the Wildsong Gaian Sanctuary or @wildsong.gaian.sanctuary.