ABOUT OUR NURSERY
We came to nursery work through our love of wild spaces. In our personal pursuits of foraging and herbalism, we have seen again and again that we can be taken care of by the land. Forest floors thick with fertile soils, rotting logs exploding with mushrooms, meadows overflowing with fragrant medicines, floodplains, highway medians, and edge spaces that surprise us with their bounty.
We’ve also seen landscapes lose balance as a result of development and overharvesting. Foraging for mushrooms, rare plant medicines, or anything else can be motivated by profit, or clouded by a disconnection from the places that feed us.
The more time we spent in the woods learning from human and non-human folk, the clearer a few things became:
we should try to mimic the landscapes that we seek out as foragers in our gardens and public greenspaces, and farms
if we are to enjoy the fruits of wild spaces, we should be doing our part to spread the seeds and the spores
We created The Forest Exchange to share our favorite wild plants with you. We gather our nursery seed stock from trees, herbs, and mushrooms we meet in all manner of places. We search for those who are thriving without sprays, pruning, mulching,
or really any (human) care whatsoever. Hardy trees dropping hundreds of pounds of nuts every fall,
wild apples producing abundantly despite decades of neglect, persimmon trees heavy
with sweet fruit, dark leafy greens that return year after year.
These are the plants we want to bring to you.
WHY PERENNIAL FOODS?
We believe that trees and other perennial food sources will play a vital role in a future that is resilient to climate change.
They help us to imagine abundant, beautiful futures where food literally falls from the sky.
We also know that for millennia, the peoples of the world were forest farmers. We consider this way of living a "remembering" of old ways of growing food. No doubt that today's industrial agriculture is a misguided and profit-driven system,
and we're here to do our small part to put it to rest.
Trees have the potential to be our primary sources of oil, vinegar, flours, proteins, feed for livestock, fuel and lumber.
In contrast to annual crops, trees need little maintenance and bear abundantly year after year, all while feeding the soil and actively pulling CO2 from our atmosphere. Visit our Resources Page for all sorts of learning materials
on perennial foods (and anything else we find interesting!).
We benefit every day from trees planted by so many people we’ve never met.
We hope to provide you with plants that will feed and shelter you and unknown beloveds for generations to come.
Cameron and Rhiannon, collecting chestnuts in the Endless Mountains, PA - Oct 2021
The Forest Exchange is located on the western edge of the Catskill Mountains of NY, in a valley where the Susquehanna and Delaware watersheds meet. We have both spent all our lives in these two watersheds, which have been tended to for thousands of years by the people of
the Lenape Nation and Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
In our work we seek to honor the rivers, the forests and meadows, the wild roses, the vivacious mushrooms, and all of the beautiful people who we learn and share with.
We are grateful to those who sowed the seeds and tended the land we benefit from today.