So what do we mean by “edible forest” anyways?
By the term edible forest, we are referring to the extremely hard, and time consuming work, that began almost five years ago and is ongoing. For example, this year alone we planted over 3,000 fruit trees! This is on top of the already hundreds of fruit trees planted over 5 years ago, as well as other plants and flowers to beautify the village.
At the ranch, coming through the gates, an amazing tranquil feeling overcomes you as the infrastructure we have created begins to unfold right in front of your eyes.
- The Yaca, or bread tree, is very versatile in its modes of consumption and preparation, green or ripe, raw or baked, fried, boiled, juiced, etc. The flavor is similar to a mixture of banana, melon and papaya, and is very nutritive. It contains carbohydrates, calcium, magnesium and potassium in higher levels than a banana. It is rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) thiamine (B1), niacin (B3), vitamin B6 and folic acid.
- Wild plums have been recommended for their drought resistance and widely planted in shelter belts in the western Great Plains (Jerry Kaiser pers. comm. 1999). They also make good wildlife habitat and are effective in erosion control because their roots hold the soil. Their thorny branches catch tumbleweeds, leaves, and other plant materials, which, when windstorms occur during times of drought, provide an effective means of slowing wind erosion of soil.
- Noni has been reported to have a range of health benefits for colds, cancer, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, pain, skin infection, high blood pressure, mental depression, atherosclerosis and arthritis. The noni contain the antibacterial compounds in the fruits (acubin, L-asperuloside and alizarin) and roots (anthrauinones). Noni conatins scopoletin which inhibits the growth of Escherichia coli, which is responsible for intestinal infections, and Heliobacter pylori, which causes ulcers. Damnacanthal, which is found in the noni roots, inhibits the tyrosine kinase and gives noni antitumor activity.
- Limes: Consisting of 90% water, they are fat-free, have no cholesterol, and when the pulp is left in the juice, it is high in fiber. As with all citrus fruits, they do contain a moderate amount of sugar, so should not be eaten in great quantities. Minerals found in limes include small amounts of: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Vitamins E and K, plus niacin and folate are found in small amounts, in addition to a large dose of vitamin C.Ingesting lime juice has been shown to have other positive effects on immune systems.
- Mango: The phenols in mangoes, such as quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes, have cancer-preventing capacities. Mango is also high in a soluble dietary fiber known as pectin. Scientist have identified a strong link between eating lots of fiber and a lower risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. A cup of sliced mangoes (around 165 gram) contain 76 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant which helps protect cells from free radical damage and reduces risk of cancer.
We take great pride in the work we have done to achieve the goal of having a fully self sustainable ecovillage. In order to make this possible, it was necessary to start the process of planting trees and vegetation years before we actually built our community of people and homes. You will find fruit trees like Yaca, Wild Plumbs, Noni, Avocados, Mango, Papaya, Guanabana, and more. Not only are these trees planted all over the ranch property, but they are also planted on and around each home’s property. In the main crop field, we are growing sugar cane and corn. Walk out your front door and pick a giant mango for breakfast. Or perhaps you will take a stroll down to your enclosed vegetable garden and pick the veggies for tonight’s dinner?
The edible forest is strategically planted with mixed fruit trees and vegetation to allow us to use NO pesticides. We are completely ORGANIC! Organic is very important to us, as we believe that nature was not meant to be sprayed with dangerous chemicals. If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful place to call home, or perhaps even a weekend getaway, look no further. At Rancho ∞ Amigos we are focused on creating an environment that is exactly this – tranquility.