Guild – /ɡild/ – noun

September 4, 2019

Definition: A guild is a grouping of plants, trees, animals, and insects that work together to help ensure their collective health and productivity. All of the components of a guild serve one or more functions that contribute to a healthy, natural environment. One component on its own may be weak, but the combination of all of them together adds to the overall strength and longevity of the web.

The 7 main components of a Forest Garden Guild:

  • Providers – plants that provide food and money, e.g. fruits, vegetables, grains, and timber.
  • Fertilizers – legumes that fix nitrogen into the soil.
  • Miners – deep rooted plants or tubers that open the soil and bring up nutrients from deep in the subsoil, releasing them as organic matter in the leaf litter.
  • Climbers – to take advantage of vertical space.
  • Supporters – plants that provide support for the climbers.
  • Cover crops – shallow-rooted, surface-level plants that cover the ground and shade and protect the soil, hold moisture, and control weeds.
  • Protectors – plants that protect your site and the crops within, e.g. insectary plants, aromatic pest confusers, and green walls.

Learn more about building guilds in Module 15: Optimizing the Understory of the Technical Manual.