Definition: A group of species, including plants, animals, and insects, that work together symbiotically to benefit a select plant or crop.
A guild comprised of kale, tomato, pepino, melon, and marigold
Guilds in the Forest Garden:
When designing a guild, Forest Gardeners select species that will benefit from one another when grown in proximity, similar to intercropping or companion planting. However, guilds emphasizes the benefits the companion crop will provide a single anchor crop.
For example, a Forest Gardener might select a grafted fruit tree as their anchor crop. They would then identify companion plants that provide direct benefits to that fruit tree. To start, they could think about a groundcover and select a plant that reduces weed pressure and moisture loss, a nitrogen fixer that provides fertility, and a plant that attracts pollinators to the anchor or deters pests. There is no one set of guild groupings. The idea is to identify multiple companion plants that provide the resources, support, and protection that select anchor crops/plants need to thrive. Guilds can be planted around a single plant or across an entire production system.