Newforest Institute

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Ene and I met a new old friend over breakfast on our last day in Maine. Andrea Read is the founder of the Newforest Institute, located outside Brooks, a charming crossroads town about ten miles inland from Belfast. She invited us for an impromptu tour of the site on our way to Boston, and we met at a newly reconstructed, historic house that serves as the Institute headquarters and housing for student interns. The project consists of three linked properties totalling about 300 acres, combining town frontage with fields, forest and edible gardens. Andrea has ambitious plans to demonstrate principles of Permaculture on a large scale. She poetically considers the project a ‘land-based community restoration’.

We strolled the property surrounding the house with Andrea and her sprightly eight year old, Jack, and discussed how to convert the existing barn into a thriving ‘beehive’ of a design studio. I plan to talk to Andrea about the possibility of introducing a coppicing operation as part of my desire to develop a regional chair for Coastal Maine.

5 replies on “Newforest Institute”

  1. That looks amazing, and now I’m very strongly considering taking part in their internship program. I find the idea of forest gardening so amazingly compelling; I’d love to see a fully mature food forest with overstory and all the rest. As far as I know, there aren’t any on this continent as of yet, but there are a few elsewhere. Recently, Geoff Lawton discovered a 300 year old forest garden in suburban Vietnam, and I’m sure there are more tucked away in unlikely places. Fascinating.

  2. Here is a short video about the one in Vietnam. Supposedly, the dvd this is from also has a feature about a 2,000 year old food forest in Morocco as well. I’m not sure if that means it’s been tended for 2,000 years, but I figure that would have to be part of what defines a forest garden…. in which case… wow.

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