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The Govec Food Forest Project in Slovenia


Recently, I rejoined Instagram and have enjoyed posting pictures again. While there, I connected with Robbert van Haaften, who is building a very interesting food forest project in Slovenia. After we talked for a while via messages, I asked if he would be interested in sharing his project here. He agreed, and sent me the following. You can follow his work on YouTube here, and on Instagram here. -DG

Hi, I’m Robbert, and I’m excited to share the story of my food forest. I’m from the Netherlands, where I studied industrial product design. As a final project, I designed and built my own tiny house on wheels.

Two years ago, I decided to take a big leap and move to Slovenia. I bought a piece of wilderness land on the Karst plateau, and that’s where my dream of a permacultural Food Forest starts.

I will create a diverse food forest with a wide variety of edible plants, fruit trees, berries, vines, herbs, roots, seeds and mushrooms. My goal is to grow 1,000 different varieties of food! I also want to build an eco-community and nature camp here, where people can live sustainably and thrive from the harvest while working together on permaculture.

Grape trellises at the Govec food forest, made from wood scavenged on the property after a wildfire

Over time, the land is starting to change when I started a wildfire raged through the region burning 90 percent of my parcel. I’ve been processing vast amounts of burned dead trees to wood chips and cleaning the forest around, but will be ‘harvesting’ wood and biomass for my lifetime, to build soil and safety from fires.

Growing abundantly on barren limestone rock with very little soil is a challenge, I am implementing techniques like ‘hugelculture,’ lasagna-style raised beds and excavating holes to fill with compost and soil. This way the larger trees have space for a healthy root ball and will Kickstart the never ending improvement of a permacultural system.

My hill is called ‘Govec’ which is the name I chose to name my Food Forest. People from all over the world are invited to come, enjoy and help. We will also host workshops on permaculture, organic farming, wood and metal works, music and natural building, turning Govec Food Forest into a place where people can learn about sustainable living, community and nature.

At the Govec permaculture community, we embrace an ethical way of living that is deeply rooted in the principles of veganism. We are dedicated to the plant-based revolution, striving to create a sustainable, compassionate, and environmentally friendly lifestyle. We want to demonstrate that a harmonious relationship with nature and animals while sustaining ultimate abundance and health is the key for a better future.

Govec is not just a project; it’s going to be a legacy for future generations. And so, as the sun sets over the Karst plateau, casting a golden glow over the land, with views across the front of the Southern Alps and the Mediterranean sea, I feel excited. Govec Food Forest is growing, not just in size but in spirit, an example that the world needs.

I hope to see you soon!
Peace and love. – Robbert van Haaften.


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