Hungry? Plant a tree! Trees can produce nuts and fruit, including berries, starchy foods like jackfruit and breadfruit, savory foods like avocado, and meaty foods such as coconut. Food-producing trees take an average of 4-6 years to mature, but many are prolific bearers once production begins – and for many years to come! Most tree crops are seasonal, so it is important to plant a variety of trees that can (collectively) provide you with food all year ‘round. In addition, planting several varieties of each species of tree is beneficial because many food-producing trees generate higher yields when in proximity to other varieties of the same tree. Some food-bearing trees, such as almond trees, are self-incompatible – meaning that they can only be pollinated by other (compatible) varieties of almond trees. The farm has too many different types of food-producing trees to list them all, but about half of them are coconut trees. (I absolutely love coconut water and coconut meat!) Many of the trees came from the seeds of fruits that someone enjoyed eating.
Reason #1: Food
Some trees blur the distinction between food and medicine. Soursop (Annona muricata), a delicious fruit-bearing tree of which we grow plenty, is powerful as an anti-inflammatory agent. Tea brewed from fresh soursop leaves can reduce uric acid and treat back pain, infections, joint problems and ulcers. Soursop has even demonstrated a promising ability to treat cancer. The farm also grows moringa (Moringa oleifera) in abundance; this superfood tree is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As such, in addition to providing nutrition, moringa can help to prevent heart disease, treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and mitigate the effects of arsenic toxicity. What else: