Oak Ecology, Acorn Community & Permaculture
Someone asked recently “Who is the Acorn Community?” For the purposes of the Cooperative: everyone who is or has been touched by oak (which began as acorn) is part of the community, and has stewardship responsibilities (& benefits). Do you know anyone who has not used some piece of oak furniture, passed under the shade of a state forest or city park tree, watched a squirrel or blue jay fiddle around, sipped something that was once barrel aged, or read the Declaration of Independence (written with oak gall ink)? Further, if one feels a connection to ancestors, there are very few of us who can not trace descent from a region of the world where acorns were once widely eaten. Oak and acorn history, significance and symbols are found through out the ancient world, and in almost every modern culture too. Here in the United States, oak is the national tree.
We are only one of over 100 species that use the oak for food, countless more species enjoy it’s shelter, and we all breathe the clean air it produces. There is so much to be learned of its relationship to other trees and plants where it grows – and mushrooms (warning, rabbit hole: three of the four medicinal mushrooms mentioned here grow on oaks).
By its nature, oak connects and can inform us where and how these connections impact our health, beneficial and otherwise – Conservation Medicine is one discipline that studies this view, Permaculture is one that proposes thoughtful cultivation to maximize benefits with minimum inputs. These are vast fields to explore. Happily, they hold an abundance of specialized communities with knowledge, practice and more connections to share. The Cooperative was created to draw students and experts of the science, arts and economics of public and private land stewardship, governance, farming, food production, building, medicine, nutrition together to better understand the value and benefits of human efforts and labor in all of it. Earth care, people care, fair share.
Through outreach and educational programming the Cooperative is slowly building a network to share the fruits and knowledge of these amazing trees, and the comprehensive benefits of involvement with them. As time and resources allow, we curate individual’s papers, books, clips, sites, and organizations that have shaped our experience with oak and acorns. May what you find here inspire you to examine your own roots, and branch out into new collaborations. We welcome suggestions, submissions, guest writers, support and participation in the Cooperative . Join us.
Acorn Eating & History:
Acorns as Food: History, Use, Recipes and Bibliography by David A. Bainbridge
Oak, The Framework of Civilization by William Bryant Loan
The Incredible, Edible Acorn by Arthur Haines (Ancestral Food for almost Everyone)
Sustaining Oak Forests in Eastern North America by Daniel C. Dey
Permaculture and Oaks
Permaculture Plans with Oaks – Temperate Climate Permaculture
This interview with Mark Shepard was filmed at New Forest Farm. It provides the philosophy of Restoration Agriculture and gives a glimpse of how Mark utilizes this philosophy to farm.
Know your history? This is what got us started: Oak, the Frame of Civilization.