1. More than a garden, a planting method that imitates nature and the natural relations between plants to minimize labor and resource inputs while maximizing outputs.
2. An Earth Genius program where students learn science while growing healthy food, taking care of themselves and the earth all at once.
More Than A Garden
The Earth Genius program creates gardens that we call Food Forests. A Food Forest differs from most gardens: it intentionally combines natural and agricultural processes to create sustainable, productive ecosystems. Food Forests are great classrooms for science, and have many benefits over conventional gardens.
Perennial, appropriate plantings minimize labor inputs. For instance, we are using fruit trees, grape vines, tree collards, and herbs that only need to be planted once but are productive for many years. Reducing maintenance tasks improves the usefulness of the garden to teachers and students as a learning tool.
Food Forests maximize food: yields increase as time goes on plants become more established. Native plants attract beneficial pollinators which make plants more fruitful. All this adds up to more food in the mouths of the youth who learn in and tend to the garden.
Selecting climate-appropriate plants (many of our plants are drought-tolerant, Mediterranean plants suitable for our Central Coast climate) uses less water. Beneficial insects attracted by native plants eat pests. Ground covers (low, spreading plants) prevent weeds.
Food Forests: Campus to Community
Join Lionel's Tree Planting Movement
As part of our project-based science education, we grow trees with students of all ages, teaching about how trees support people and wildlife. The trees are taken home by students, planted on campuses, provided to restoration projects, and given away to the public with planting instructions and a pledge.
Crowd Sourced Tree Planting
We've just launched our newest extension to the Food Forest program--now we're tracking the trees we give away. Need a tree? Contact us, and we'll provide a free tree (donations are encouraged) and put you on our map!
Who is Lionel?
Lionel started One Cool Earth in the 1990's and has grown and planted over 20,000 trees since then. His background in project management as a ironworker’s foreman gives him the wherewithal to conceive and implement many of One Cool Earth’s projects. Since his retirement 20 years ago, Lionel has volunteered countless hours and materials to support others in the growing and planting trees in the county. Lionel co-founded One Cool Earth with Chris and Sue Elliott to increase environmental education and protection in the county.
Click on the project's name to take you to the page