Los Angeles Food Forest

Food forest permaculture system on a previously abandoned 1/4 acre residential property in the city of Los Angeles.

+ about this project

The property, bought in 2011, is on a south-facing hillside on the east side of LA. It includes a 1,000 square foot house and 400 square foot accessory dwelling unit, formerly a carport. The project involves restoring and insulating the buildings and integrating regenerative systems to grow food, generate energy, harvest rain and greywater, and support wildlife and livestock in a diverse and productive ecosystem.

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Highlights

  • Producing ~100 fruits, vegetables and herbs.
  • All rainwater runoff and erosion is eliminated. Even heavy rainfall is fully soaked or stored on the property.
  • Includes chickens, vermicompost, deep mulch basins, hugelkultur and other compost and soil regeneration systems.
  • Greywater irrigation system reuses water from the bathroom and kitchen sinks, shower and laundry machine. Water is distributed to 27 emitters across 2 zones and irrigates ~30 food-producing trees and shrubs.
  • Rainwater cachement includes a natural swimming pool (filtered by wetland plants), tanks, water features, sponge swales, and mulch basins. Water storage capacity on site is ~13,000 gallons. Rooftops can capture ~15,000 gallons of water per year on average. Hardscapes channel water through pipes to underground basins between fruit trees.
  • 6KW of solar PV panels and 27 KWh battery storage capacity powers and backs up all services for the property including the pool pump and electric car. Any supplemental electricity from the grid originates from renewable energy sources through a city program. In case of a city power outage, services continue indefinitely off-grid from the back-up battery storage, which is recharged daily by the solar panels.
  • According the National Wildlife Federation, the property includes all of the elements required as a wildlife habitat, including food, water, cover, places to raise young, and sustainable practices.
  • Detailed data collection of daily water use, food production, temperature and precipitation began in May 2022.

Animal food products

  • Chicken eggs

Perennial fruits and vegetables

  • Almond
  • Aloe Vera
  • Apple
  • Aprium
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Barbados Cherry
  • Blackberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Blueberry
  • Cape Gooseberry
  • Chaya
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherry
  • Chile
  • Collard
  • Dragonfruit
  • Eggfruit
  • Egyptian Walking Onion
  • Fig
  • Ginger
  • Goji Berry
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Jujube
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Loquat
  • Makrut Lime
  • Malabar Spinach
  • Mandarin Orange
  • Mango
  • Meyer Lemon
  • Moringa
  • Mulberry
  • Olive
  • Orange
  • Palo Verde
  • Passionfruit
  • Peach
  • Persimmon
  • Peruvian Apple
  • Pineapple Guava
  • Pluery
  • Plum
  • Pomegranate
  • Prickly Pear
  • Raspberry
  • Saltbush
  • Sorrel
  • Strawberry
  • Strawberry Guava
  • Sugar Cane
  • Surinam Cherry
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tangelo
  • Turmeric
  • White Sapote

Perennial herbs

  • African Blue Basil
  • Bay
  • Chives
  • Cuban Oregano
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon Verbana
  • Makrut
  • Marjarum
  • Mint
  • Mitsuba
  • Nasturtium
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Shiso
  • Thyme
  • Tobacco
  • Vietnamese Cilantro

Self-seeding vegetables and herbs

  • Basil
  • Celery
  • Chamomile
  • Fennel
  • Lettuce
  • Nasturtium
  • Tomato
  • Yellow Wood Sorrel

Other annual vegetables and herbs

  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Canteloupe
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Onion
  • Pepper
  • Potato
  • Radish
  • Melons
  • Squash
  • Turnip
  • Watermelon

Eagle rock food forest main

  • peaches
    Fruit trees are irrigated with greywater and fertilized by chickens, who visit daily from their coops by tunnel. The chickens have regular access to Aprium, Apple, Mandarin Orange, Meyer Lemon, Peach, Pluerry and Plum trees.
  • Moringa
    Moringa, a nutrient-dense supplemental food source, grows in abundance,
  • tobacco
    Dried tobacco hanging from a Grevillea tree, which is being pruned over time to provide a living staircase for roof access.
  • grapes
    Grapes grow from a chicken pen, where composting results from occasional wetting and mulching of the pen floor rather than clearing it. The vine grows up a trellis that shades a south-facing staircase, and is constructed from Bamboo poles collected from a neighbor's garden. At least 50 pounds of grapes per year grow on this vine with minimal irrigation and no commercial inputs.
  • bananas
    Four types of bananas are grown around a greywater-fed mulch basin. Banana plants are cut down and composted in the central pit after fruiting, increasing soil fertility, water-holding capacity, and biomass. The plants and large leaves create a cool shady environment, reduce air temperature and increase moisture in an otherwise hot and dry southwest-facing microcllimate. They also shade and help insulate the house interior while providing privacy and an immersive view from the bedroom.
  • eggs
    Chickens for eggs, fertlizer, and many other functions.
  • loquats
    The mediterranean climate is perfect for growing citrus. Using greywater and chickens for irrigation and fertilizer the property includes Mandarin, Navel Orange, Eureka Lemon, Meyer Lemon, Key Lime, Tangelo, Makrut, Loquat, and Oro Blanco Grapefruit.
  • chickenpen
    Chickens have constant access by tunnel to a composting pen, where they deposit manure that is occasionally layered with wood chips and water. The composted manure is dug out as needed. Grape vines grow from the pen, feeding from the compost. No cleaning or additional maintenance is needed.
  • Los Angeles food forest - steps
    Stairs and retaining walls are plastered with a mix of sifted clay-rich dirt, goat manure and straw (from a desert neighbor), fermented prickly pear paddle juice (for binding, smoothing and water resistance) and human hair (final coat).
  • dragonfly
    Dragonflies breed in the natural pool and are an important part of the food chain.
  • chamomile
    Many useful and edible annual plants re-seed on their own every year.
  • solar panels
    Solar panels and battery storage provide electricity for the property and prevent outages.
  • passionfruit trellis
    Passionfruit vines grow up the side of the house onto a bamboo trellis that shades the southwest side of the deck and produces hundreds of fruits multiple times a year. The bamboo is harvested from the property and a neighbor's yard. The vines are irrigated with stored rainwater through a vermicomposting basin.