The forest is accessed by passing between 2 beautiful while oaks on the north-west corner of the site. A path meanders through the middle of the forest and around it so that almost every species planted can be readily seen from the trail.

The design takes into account existing vegetation established on the site as well as the surrounding uses and conditions. Species were chosen to represent a broad spectrum of the Carolinian ecosystem and showcase plants that are generally not well known as food sources.

The food forest will be phased in over several years. In 2012, approximately 2/3 of the site was planted. Light maintenance over the first few years will be required to maintain the desired species mix and keep out undesirable plants.

In 2012, the following species were planted: White Oak, Shellbark Hickory, Shagbark Hickory, Pincherry, New Jersey Tea, Chokecherry, Black Chokeberry, American Plum, Nannyberry, Basswood, Hazelnut, Elderberry, Sweet Gale, Spicebush, Red Raspberry, Gooseberry, Yellow Birch, Paw Paw, Highbush Cranberry, Rose, Serviceberry, Redbud, Silverweed, Strawberry, Solomon's Seal, Nodding Wild Onion, Ostrich Fern, Ground Nut, Northern Dewberry, and Violet.


Succession is a natural part of all ecosystems. What it means is that the plant community changes over time as each new arrival changes the site conditions and makes it favorable for new colonizers. The strategy with the Carolinian Food Forest is to plant several stages of succession at once. While the trees are young there will obviously be more light penetrating to the forest floor so plants there will be sun-loving. As the trees mature, these will be transitioned over to shade-tolerant species. Some areas to the southern end of the food forest will be maintained in a more open meadow-like stage of early succession to provide a greater diversity of foods.

Species List

This species list outlines edible and medicinial Carolinian forest species and divides them into the 7 layers of a food forest. Not all of these species will be planted in London's Carolinian Food Forest but they are here for your reference and so that you can make modifications according to your site conditions if you want to replicate the process. We have also provided a list of suppliers of native plants in the London area. 


Species Guilds

The Carolinian Food Forest is designed at a holistic level with plants playing different supporting roles in the system however on a smaller scale with 1 or 2 trees it is best to design a guild. A guild is an assembly of plants that help support a central element, generally a fruit or nut tree. As a mini-ecosystem these supporting plants provide nutrients, mulch, pest control and attract pollinators for the central tree. Planting a guild on your front lawn or in a corner of your backyard is a quick and easy way to beautify your landscape with edibles and medicinals that come back every year and are low maintenance.

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