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The Arcosanti Food Forest

  • October 12, 2022
  • 9:00 AM
  • Zoom Event




in partnership with the Arizona Community Tree Council

presents online/via Zoom

The Arcosanti Food Forest

October 12, 2022

10:00am Mountain / 9:00am Arizona

Duration is one hour

After registering for this program, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  This two step process allows us to track attendance for CEUs and CFEs.

Presented by Dr. James Allen, Professor with the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University

Regarding continuing education credits for this program:

  • Pending for 1 hour of Continuing Forestry Education (CFE) credits (Cat. 1) by the Society of American Foresters (SAF – contact Andy Mason,
  • Pending for 1 hour of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by the America Society of Agronomy (ASA – contact Mick O’Neill,
  • Pending for 1 hour of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)

Presentation Description:

Food forests are an agroforestry practice that provides benefits well beyond food production. For example, they are a type of multistrata agroforestry, which is ranked #28 on Project Drawdown’s list of the 100 top climate solutions. Beginning in January 2020 a small team began planning a new food forest to be established at Arcosanti, a 52-year-old experimental town located in the high desert, approximately 70 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona.

Arcosanti is an ambitious project envisioned as an experiment in living frugally and with a limited environmental footprint. The food forest project is part of a larger program to revitalize both agriculture and education at Arcosanti. Beginning in the summer of 2020 work parties began preparing a 0.67-acre site, which consisted of a vacant, weedy field and a small stand of paulownia trees. Site preparation has followed a design that includes a network of shallow basins and meandering paths.

The first plantings of fruit trees and shrubs, many of which were transplanted from the property of one of the team members, occurred in November of 2020. This food forest project has been informed by nearby examples, including a well-developed food forest at a private residence and a 200-tree orchard at a nearby private school, which will also be briefly described in this presentation.

Although the work on this food forest is still in its early stages it is already attracting considerable attention. The work parties have grown from mostly members of the Arcosanti community to include groups of AmeriCorps and Pacific Discovery volunteers, students from Yavapai College and Northern Arizona University, and others who are not Arcosanti residents. Thousands of visitors come from around the region and the world every year to visit Arcosanti, making it an ideal location to demonstrate and promote the scaling up of food forests.


Dr. James Allen is a Professor with the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. He served as its Executive Director from 2007 to 2021. He is a founding member and immediate past chair of the Southwest Agroforestry Action Network. Dr. Allen’s interest in agroforestry and food forests dates to his work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland. His involvement in agroforestry in the Southwest began in 2017, when he took a sabbatical and spent part of it investigating current practices in this region.

Program Schedule listed in Mountain Time

Following the presentation will be a 15 minutes of Q&A with the presenters and a program wrap-up.

All participants are invited to attend the 30 minute SWAAN Business Meeting led by the SWAAN Chair that will begin at the close of the education program.

10:00 – 10:05 – Housekeeping (using chat, continuing education credits, recording) – Bev Babb, ACTC

10:05 – 10:10 – Introduction or presenter

10:10 – 11:10 Presentation 

SWAAN Business Meeting led by Donna Davis

  • Next quarterly SWAAN webinar: Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 10:00-11:00 MST (program TBD)
  • SWAAN’s 2023 conference in Colorado, tentatively May 9-11 in the Denver area

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