Louis De Jaeger is on a mission. The landscape architect and founder of Commensalist, wants to revolutionize how you see sustainability and interact with nature through future proof landscape design. One such way is by the planting of food forests. Passionate about sustainable farming, De Jaeger takes viewers on an entrancing journey into the magical gardens of Belgium’s food forest pioneers in the aptly titled documentary that reveals the potential of food forests to change the earth and your life.
So, what is a food forest?
Well, De Jaeger explains it best in the film, but a food forest is essentially a multi-layer garden that can produce an abundance of fruits, nuts, and vegetables in a self-sustaining way. Unlike traditional farming that might require a grower to replant a seed every year, a food forest has the potential to last decades after just one planting.
In the hour-long “FoodForest,” viewers see the wonders such forests hold as De Jaeger visits different individuals who have embraced the food forest movement and adapted their gardens and land to their own diverse needs. Some have even created thriving businesses while reducing their reliance on store-bought food.
Not all food forests are on large plots of land. As we see in the film, food forests can be grown in a variety of areas including urban cities. This type of urban farming could be a game changer for highly populated regions where access to large areas of land might not be available but the need for healthy food remains.
Watching “FoodForest,” it’s easy to get behind the idea that food forests have the potential to shape our communities for the better.
In one part of the film, De Jaeger visits the food forest of a psychiatric institute where patients find working in the garden to be a therapeutic outlet. Nature can be a healing place. Not only do food forests promote access to nutrients essential for healthy bodies and minds, but the act of simply being outside and part of nature can do wonders for the soul and one’s mental health.
Beautifully filmed and edited, “FoodForest” seduces with its rich cinematography that immerses viewers in different layers of the food forests that, at times, feels like you’ve been transported to some lush universe that holds all life’s secrets.
While the stars of the film are the forests and those who grow them, enough good things can’t be said about De Jaeger who naturally shines on-screen guiding us along in our understanding in a way that is approachable and makes learning about nature and this unique farming concept exciting.
Educational and inspiring, “FoodForest” will change how you view the future of food production and perhaps even the potential of your own backyard garden.
See “FoodForest” screening online at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival from July 1st – 31st. For more information on MDFF, visit: mdff.org.au.