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A permaculture system mimics nature by creating a diverse, long lasting mini-ecosystem. Unlike a natural ecosystem, however, permaculture focuses on plants that have some added value, such as fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, beneficial herbs, and perennial veggies. For the prepper, a "food forest" cab be a fantastic long term food resource.

Dwarf fruit trees don't take up much room, and can start producing in a few years. Most will quickly produce more than you can use, so the excess can be a good barter item as well. While you're at it, plant a few standard sized trees too, they will take longer to bear, but produce heavily once well established.

Berry bushes and the like are also a good addition. Get stuff that comes ripe at different times so there is always something to eat, and try to grow enough to dry, can, or whatever so you can build a stockpile.

Perennial herbs are another good addition to any prepper's food forest. Get a good book on medicinal herbs and plant whatever you might need. Perennial herbs pretty much grow themselves, so stick some in here and there.

Don't forget to add some perennial veggies too. Believe me, you'll suddenly like asparagus if you get hungry enough. Bunching onions, rhubarb. perennial kale and collard greens, garlic, and whatever else will grow in your area.

One of the things I like most about a permaculture garden is that is requires very little work once established. You don't till, plow, cultivate, or any of that stuff. Once established, the main task will be picking whatever's ripe.

A food forest will also attract a lot of very cute woodland-type creatures which you can shoot and eat. Yum yum!

Another benefit is that a permaculture system looks very natural. It's not that obvious that it's a garden at all. I guess you can call it "stealth gardening." Row after row of conventional crops make a tempting target, a small food forest is much harder to spot.

If your plan is to bug out, it wouldn't hurt to plant a few useful things at that location now. Choose your plants carefully and nobody will ever know. (heh heh)

As you can see, such a system provides the maximum return for a modest investment in time, effort, and money. It's an idea worth looking into, to be sure.
 

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When I was in college, I rented an apartment from a couple that had their own terraced gardens in their backyards in sunny California. They grew all kinds of fruits on trees, and also had a row garden. They were old, and their kids were lazy, so I made a deal with them that I would rototill their row garden soil every season in exchange for being able to pick fruit from their garden, and they happily agreed. I used their machine and fuel, so I ended up with fresh fruit for some dirt churning.

They had a lemon tree right in my front yard and it had clusters of lemons. They raised some exotic stuff, too - ball avocados (delicious) and strawberry guavas were my favorites. They had oranges, tangerines, figs, dates, plums, nectarines, and limes. Their row crops were mostly weird greens, but I got carrots, onions, leeks and potatoes at harvest time. Their backyard was like a paradise. It was fenced to keep out wildlife, but the birds woke me up every morning at sunrise.

I agree that such agricultural approaches are very good uses of land. That garden was a great place to visit and partake....
 

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When my wife and I needed to buy a home in late 09 i was so excited about the one we got. It was a huge lot, and it already had two full grown orange trees, a fig tree, and almond. Ive sense added pears, peaches, and just recently a walnut tree. I'm dismayed the city just added a "shade" tree in front. A walnut would have done better.

These trees will no doubt reduce my cost of living. But in SHTF I'm sure they turn the home into a target. For now it saves me money, but for later it makes me want to bug out even more. Kind of hard to hide full grown trees with food on them.
 
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