The forest of Higas will host one of the largest edible forests in Europe

Until 7 years ago the hilly fields of Estibaux were used for industrial corn farming. Left fallow in 2013, it took all those years for the soil to recover from chemical treatments and excessive ploughing.

"For a very long time, only rumex grew here, indicating that the soil was poorly oxygenated and poorly aerated. Now there is plantain, flowers and the first hazelnut and oak trees growing! This shows that the soil has finally recovered. "explains Yoann Lang, who thought and imagined the Higas Forest project for years.

As in a wild forest, Yoann wants to organize the plantations in different strata with a high density to have seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, medicinal plants, wood and fodder for future animals, honey, eggs and even spirulina which will be grown in an old wine press transformed into a basin.

In the heart of the Landes, on 7 hectares, Yoann Lang and Frank Lutic have sown the first seeds of a rather crazy project: to create one of the largest edible forests in Europe with more than 60,000 trees, shrubs and bushes, a river, animals and a multitude of vegetables and plants of all kinds.

Their dream: to recreate "a complete ecosystem, a haven of biodiversity, where Man and Nature serve each other in perfect balance. »

  

Food abundance

In addition to these bio-indicator plants, Yoann wants to transform these former corn monoculture plots "into a horn of food abundance and a haven for biodiversity. »

"The aim is to have a production with the greatest possible diversity, to meet the needs of the local population. In addition to the traditional fruits and vegetables, we will, for example, grow mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, Reiishi and Shiitake mushrooms on logs, but also goji berries, Yuzu lemons and caviar or Sichuan pepper which will make up our hedges. " lists Yoann Lang,

Yoann Lang, an agroforester, is even planning to build a 1 hectare photovoltaic glass roof, in the first year, which will house bananas, cocoa, coffee, tea, avocados and citrus fruits. As the climate is mild in this corner of France, temperatures should be sufficient to avoid the need to heat it, and a river bed will run inside to recreate the humidity these tropical plants need!

"People are often surprised by the willingness to make bananas or cocoa, they think it's not really environmentally friendly. But I am pragmatic: few people really stop consuming these products. We can no longer afford to continue importing them en masse from the other side of the world because of the pollution this causes. So we have to create new ways of doing things. "explains Yoann Lang.

 

For the good of the earth... and the territory

Yoann grew up in the countryside, inspired and trained by his grandfather, a gardener,

has carefully considered his project despite the prevailing skepticism. Project that he wanted to create with the locals, to face the many challenges posed by the ecological and climatic crisis such as soil erosion, groundwater pollution, the sixth mass extinction ...

"Water, in particular, is an issue for the future. People don't realize how much. We are going to experience longer and longer periods of drought punctuated by shorter and shorter periods of violent rainfall, which increases the risk of flooding. This is why we have decided to create a water retention basin, fed by runoff from several dozen hectares of surrounding land, which will be cleaned by phyto-purification, before joining the stream that will flow into our pond. This river had been blocked in 1950, so we are going to revive it. "says Yoann Lang.

For a year, Yoann collected green waste from local landscapers to create compost. He plans to buy 1,500 chestnut trees from his neighbor's nursery.

An edible forest, it allows to retain water, therefore to protect itself, in addition to feeding itself; that's why this project seemed obvious to me. That's why this project seemed obvious to me," says Frank Lutic, future employee of the Forêt de Higas.

 

The next step is January 15, 2021, when the trees sponsored by the crowdfunders ( https://www.miimosa.com/fr/projects/la-foret-de-higas-l-agriculture ) will be planted on the site.

The sponsors will then be able to come and reap half of the fruits each year.

 

Higas Forest

316 Chemin de Higas,

40290 Estibeaux

With the help of https://lareleveetlapeste.fr/l

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

(free version)

 

 

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