Our Story

In 2015 Louise Ward, owner of Yarra Valley Estate; wished to grow seasonal vegetables, that would be incorporated into our client menus; whilst also reducing food miles. A synergy touched the sustainability values and ethos of Yarra Valley Estate.  A ‘seed’ was planted in our 10 bed ‘top veggie garden’.

Soon it was evident that the little veggie garden was not able to produce enough to sustain our growing needs. Our interest in food security lead to a larger idea of building a garden that would grow into a forest, planted with edible and medicinal plants. Simple enough?

How It All Began

The Vision

A Place of Healing

A place of healing where visitors feel the calming and healing effect that a forest creates; the best of what nature has to offer; to appeal to the senses of smell, taste and touch.

The creation of our Edible Forest started in 2016 when our team; together with John Ferris from Edible Forest Gardens Nursery brought together the knowledge, vision, dedication and commitment to this project.

Permaculture and Hügelkultur

The soil of the original site had a clay base, with very little top soil. Using Permaculture and Hügelkultur principles we were able to build up the soil with organic matter as well as creating swales to slow the flow of water, retaining moisture and encouraging micro-organisms to flourish. Permaculture design principles mimic structures and interrelationships found within a natural forest system to produce an abundance of diverse perennial foods and medicinal plants.

Be Happy, Be Healthy & Be Inspired

The dry river creek at the entrance of the Edible Forest acts to slow the water rushing down into the Forest and is constructed out of natural products, the perfect entry to the Edible Forest.

Louise maintains “If you look after the soil without the need for commercial fertilizers, the soil will look after the plants, creating a natural immunity, where the plants will flourish”.

This has been evident in the plant’s healthy growth and while still in its infancy, our Edible Forest is truly amazing. A place where you can wonder, discover, learn and have fun. The result is many years of hard work, learning, passion and dedication; what you see continues to inspire us. We welcome you to our Edible Forest.

On 25th November 2018, Louise Ward, together with Moira Kelly AO; founder of Global Gardens of Peace; officially opened the Edible Forest for everyone who needs a garden to “Be Happy, Be Healthy & Be Inspired”.

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Sustainability

Our Edible Forest has been consciously designed using Hügelkultur and Permaculture methods. Permaculture is based on three ethics that mirror our philosophy – care of the planet, care of community and take personal responsibility for the way you organise your life.

Chemical free and proudly organically grown the abundant vegetation has created its own healthy eco-system.

Some other sustainability efforts we are proud of within our Edible Forest:

  • Repurposing items to create seating
  • Reusing fallen tree stumps and logs laying about the property some burnt from Black Saturday to create garden borders
  • Teahouse walls are repurposed rusted tin from local farm and using old cups for tea
  • Compost & ‘Worm Tea’ (liquid waste from our worm farm) assist us with the fertilisation of the Forest.
  • Chooks peck about in the Fruit Orchard keeping bugs and slugs at bay
  • The Harvest Hub was created using shipping containers and reclaimed kitchen equipment
  • Produce boxes are made locally using reclaimed fence timber
  • The Hothouse metal structure was donated by a neighbouring farmer
  • Using recycled plastic bottles for our Worm Tea to store and sell
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LEARN TO COOK

Want to learn more about how to pickle and preserve your harvest? Book one of our cooking classes so you can enjoy your harvest throughout the seasons.