Temple Memorial Park Community Food Forest
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a food forest?
A food forest is a forest that has been planted with the aim of producing a variety of different edible
foods for human consumption. It differs from typical commercial growing of food in several ways
but mainly in the layout of the planting and the variety of trees and plants grown.
Unlike a commercial orchard for example, which would typically grow only one type of fruit, a food
forest creates and encourages biodiversity. As such we can take advantage of nature to develop a
Why do we want a food forest?
In recent times public awareness of the global climate crisis has escalated dramatically. Although
food forests have been grown in some parts of the world for thousands of years, we feel that there
has never been a more compelling argument for people to grow their own food local to where they
We also feel strongly that in our age, access to healthy fresh food should be available to everyone
but sadly food poverty is still a big problem in our area. This project will help to meet the needs of
those who can’t afford fresh food.
What are the benefits of a food forest?
There are many, many benefits to a food forest which include: -
creating social connections between people of all ages from many different backgrounds
healthy activity that can be adapted for those with various disabilities
time spent in nature that can be very therapeutic for mental health
creating a free healthy food-source accessible to all in our communities
food from a food forest is not wrapped in packaging
avoidance of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers
avoidance of highly mechanised and industrialised food production
avoidance of depletion of soil quality that occurs with single crop farming
trees and plants clean the air reducing the effects of air pollution
tree roots hold water in the earth reducing risks of flooding and drought
increasing the numbers of birds, insects and wild animals to local areas
trees lock in carbon which helps towards tackling our global climate emergency
dramatically reduced ‘food miles’ avoiding much of the CO 2 emissions from transporting
Where will the food forest be?
It will be located in Temple Memorial Park, as yet the exact site within the park has yet to be
confirmed with South Tyneside Council.
When does planting begin?
We hope to begin planting in November 2019. We will publicise planting dates as soon as we have
Who will plant the food forest?
We hope to involve as many organisations, groups and individuals as possible in the planting of the
forest. The more people involved, the more people will benefit and have the satisfaction of knowing
they have contributed to a wonderful project that can be enjoyed now, and by generations for years
What types of trees and plants will be planted?
The first phase will be tree planting. The majority of the trees planted will be fruit trees – different
varieties of apples, pear, plum and cherries. There will also be some nut trees e.g. hazel, walnut,
We will also be planting berries – blackcurrant, redcurrant, blackberries, elderberries, gooseberries
Various other edible plants yet to be decided will be planted after the initial tree-planting phase has
How have we chosen what trees to plant?
The choice of trees planted is based on several factors
trees more suited to growing in our local climate
size of trees when mature
how soon the trees will produce fruit
how good the varieties of fruit taste
time of year that the trees produce fruit – mixture of early, mid and late-season.
compatibility with other trees to ensure pollination for fruit production
Taking these considerations into account we aim to plant a variety of different trees which we feel
will create a good balance and meet people’s needs.
How will we decide where to plant each tree?
We will take into account the likely height of each tree when they reach maturity and try to ensure
there is enough space between trees so fruit and nuts can be harvested. We also want to make
sure there will be enough space between trees to have adequate light reaching the lower layers of
the forest so we can grow other bushes and ground level plants.
As there are already a number of ground level wild grasses and flowering plants at the site, allowing
plenty of spacing between the trees will also allow many of the existing species to continue to thrive
and add to the overall biodiversity.
How can I donate to the community food forest?
Any donations no matter how small will be very gratefully received and we will do our very best to
ensure that money is used wisely.
You can either donate money, or if you prefer, you can buy a tree from our ‘wish list’ from our
chosen supplier Orange Pippin.
Paypal is email@example.com .
Alternatively bank transfer is
Sort code 30-90-89 please use the refrence "FOOD FOREST" so we know what the money is for.
If you wish to buy from Orange Pippin instructions on how to do this will appear below once our
wish list is set up: -
Why have we created a ‘wish list’ with Orange Pippin?
We have considered different suppliers but feel that Orange Pippin have a wide variety of fruit trees
that would suit our needs. They also have a great deal of knowledge and experience in growing fruit
trees and will be able to help guide us with our project.
For our food forest we need a good balance of different types of trees (see above – How have we
chosen what trees to plant?). As such we will create a ‘wish list’ with the Orange Pippin website so
that anyone wishing to buy a tree directly from the Orange Pippin website can do so. The wish list
will ensure that we create a good balance and don’t have too many of some types and not enough of
other types of trees.
Alternatively, for those who wish to donate, you can donate money to our food forest fund.
What will donated money be used for?
The money donated will be used to buy trees and other plants for the food forest. We may also
need to use some money for buying equipment to help with planting e.g. spades, buckets etc.
We will not however use any of the donations to pay anyone to plant or look after the food forest.
This will be done by volunteers.
Do you have to donate money or buy trees to be involved in the project?
No, we would like as many people, groups and organisations in our community involved in this
project. There will be opportunities for volunteers including schools and other groups to help with
What other kind of help is needed for the food forest?
We would be grateful for donations of equipment we may need to help with planting and maintain
the food forest.
Examples of items we are likely to need include: -
Spades, forks, buckets, wheelbarrows
If you have any items such as these to spare please contact us -
email: firstname.lastname@example.org other contact info to be added soon
If your business or organisation donates money, can this be publicised?
All donors will appear on our sponsors page. You can provide us with a logo if you have one and a
link to your website.
We will also use any media opportunities we can to show our appreciation for your support.
Finally would be delighted for you to use our logo on your website to highlight your involvement
with the project.
If we donate a tree will it be labelled with our own plaque or tag?
We have decided that the ethos of this project is to create an inclusive community food forest and
that it belongs to the people of South Tyneside. We feel that including sponsors names linked to
individual trees would not be in-keeping with this ethos.
Also it is inevitable that some trees won’t survive to maturity and it could be quite distressing to
individuals who have donated a tree if it doesn’t survive.
We also feel that the plaques or markers would have to be quite substantial to survive the elements
and that the money would be best used in buying more trees or other plants.
We will however publicise our appreciation to all donors on our website and in the media (see
Will any artificial chemicals such as pesticides or fertilisers be used?
The principles we will be following to establish a food forest will be those of ‘permaculture’. The
principles have been developed by observing how ecosystems establish and maintain themselves in
nature without interference from humans.
The key to permaculture is biodiversity. It is through encouraging biodiversity that an ecosystem
finds equilibrium or balance. As a result, no one ‘pest’ or ‘weed’ takes over and no one species
depletes nutrients from the soil. Rather the food forest over time adds to the soil and fertility
Is this the same as growing organically?
Even growing organically involves the use of some fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides but these are
organic substances rather than artificial chemicals.
The principles of permaculture mean that wherever possible we will be relying on the biodiversity to
maintain the health of the plants that grow in our community food forest.
What happens if birds and other wildlife eat the food that is produced?
It is inevitable that some of the food produced will be eaten by wild birds and animals in the park.
This is a good thing because the biodiversity of a balanced ecosystem depends also on the birds,
insects and other animals.
Why are we using a protective barrier around each tree when they are planted?
There are hares and rabbits in Temple Memorial Park and it is know that they can eat young fruit
trees. We therefore need to protect the trees in the early years until their bark becomes too tough
to be eaten.
Who will look after the food forest?
Temple Memorial Park Volunteer Rangers are committed to looking after the park and over the past
2 years have cleared a huge amount of rubbish from the park which has accumulated over many
years. They now tie bin bags to lamp posts throughout the park for people to put their rubbish in.
The volunteers empty the bags twice a week and do regular litter picks.
The Temple Memorial Park Volunteer Rangers will also be overseeing any ongoing maintenance and
development of the community food forest but it will be for the whole community to help protect
and maintain the food forest.
We envisage that the food forest will not need any intensive maintenance, mainly just looking out
for and trimming back any species which seem to be taking over. We will be looking at the addition
of plant species which we think will help to increase diversity and balance but generally however we
will be looking at nature to find its own balance.
How long will it take before there will be a harvest from fruit trees?
Some of the trees we plant will have a greater height at maturity and these species will take longer,
even up to 8-10 years before they produce fruit as in the early years they will be putting their energy
into growing bigger.
We will however be planting other smaller trees in-between the bigger trees, some of which are
likely to start producing fruit after 3-4 years.
Can anyone take food that is grown from the food forest?
Yes, this is a food forest for the community and we hope will be a supply of fresh food for anyone
who wishes to enjoy it. Especially those on low income and who don’t have gardens where they
could grow their own fresh food.
Can we have food forests in other areas?
We hope that we can achieve a beautiful and productive food forest which will be well used by the
community and provide inspiration for others to create food forests in other areas of South Tyneside
and beyond. We also hope to inspire more people who have gardens to grow food using the same