Master class on Food forest design
Location: Floriade – Almere (Utopia Island) & Drijfveer
Days: Weekends of  9 + 10 and 16 + 17 of July
Subscribe: You can subscribe for the first (Theory) or both (Theory and Design) weekends
Time: 10:00 – 16:30
Total participants: 10 – 20 people
Teachers: Xavier San Giorgi & Dr. Jennifer Schulz
Language: English (teachers speak Dutch and German)
Lunch: Organic lunch and drinks are included

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What is a food forest
A food forest is a form of perennial agriculture in which the structure and positive ecological relationships of a natural forest system are utilized to inform the design and management of a productive system. A food forest can produce an abundance of food, herbs, spices, fuel, fibre and medicine and additionally may provide a variety of ecological services, such as, nutrient cycling, habitat and climate regulation, while being a wonderful place to reside in.

In contrast to a natural forest, a food forest is designed with a predominance of food producing species, but is distinguished from an orchard or traditional agriculture by the high diversity of species and up to 7 distinct layers of vegetation (tree, shrub, herbaceous etc.). The ecological qualities of the different species are utilized intelligently to provide a stable, and resilient system, which requires fewer external inputs and reduced maintenance compared to a conventional agricultural system. Furthermore, food forests can be designed for backyards, urban agriculture, city parks or farms.

Food forestry offers individuals, municipalities, farmers and land managers the combination of food production with nature conservation or restoration.

The course
The MASTER CLASS on food forestry offers participants a tailored mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, which will allow you to successfully go to work with the realization of food forests yourself. You can either subscribe for the first weekend or both weekends.

The first weekend will be mostly theory. We will  introduce you to the design principles, ecology, maintenance, landscape reading, food forest plant species, and visit both Utopia Island and Food Forest Makeblijde.

During the second weekend we will bring this knowledge together and guide you trough a design process. You will learn how to bring the broader ideas into more detailed design, make a comprehensive plant list and plan for maintenance.  One can choose, just as at the Floriade food forest, to design a food forest for the context of a farm, recreational forest, park or within an urban setting on the Island of Utopia. Apart from getting to know Utopia Island more in depth we will also visit Food Forest Oostwaard.

The design and realization of food forests involves a wide spectrum knowledge and skills. We do not, however, expect participants to be familiar with all these subjects. What we do expect from you, is to have gained some prior experience or training for example in horticulture, landscape architecture, permaculture, nature conservation, ecology or other related topics such as policy, scientific research.

During the course we will make use of the Island Utopia, which in the upcoming years will be developed into one of the biggest food forests of the Netherlands. The island is situated in the middle of Almere city and will become part of the Floriade horticultural world expo of 2022.

The course will be given in de Drijfveer which is the first pavilion of the Floriade 2022. It is a floating building constructed with solely bio-based materials such as acacia wood, hemp and wool. Learn more about de Drijfveer at or on

The teachers
In the past 5 years Xavier San Giorgi (ir.) has gained experience in many interesting food forests around the globe, including; Cuba, England (Plants for a Future and Martin Crawford) and Jordan (Greening the Desert of Geoff Lawton). He has also taken part in the International Permaculture conference and holds two PDC’s and a Masters degree in Architecture from the TU-Delft.

In the Netherlands Xavier has given various courses on food forestry. Additionally, he has the practical experience of designing and implementing several food forest projects the latest being at the Oostwaard Estate (Oud Zuilen) and Metabolic (Amsterdam). Whilst now managing Makeblijde for more than three years. At the moment he is involved with the design of the 4.2 ha island for the Floriade of 2022, and a smallholding in Almere.

Jennifer Schulz (PhD, Dipl.-Ing.) is a professional landscape planner and has been working for 15 years on practical food forestry design and implementation, particularly in Portugal. There she has taught farmers in the practical implementation and maintenance of food forest systems. One of her more recent projects was to design an educational food forest for the International Garden Exhibition in Berlin (IGA 2017).

Apart from her practical experience she has been researching complex agroforestry systems in Brazil and large-scale forest restoration planning in Chile. She has extensive teaching experience through University lectures, professional training, and also recently teaching food forestry in a Berlin high school. Currently she is a Postdoc at the University of Potsdam, where she researches and teaches courses in Landscape Management.