See a Permaculture Food Forest in the Mountains

Forest Garden at CRMPI

Growing bananas and figs at 7800 feet in the mountains of Colorado? In a permaculture food forest in the mountains? Are you serious?

Yes, not only is it possible, but it’s been going on for decades now.

Meet Jerome Osentowski of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Marjory went onsite to interview Jerome and see his forest gardens firsthand.  She also got some footage of the various food forests that you can see below.

A Permaculture Food Forest with a History

Jerome studied under Bill Mollison, the founder of Permaculture, back in the 1980s.

And the food forest he started in Colorado has been growing successfully for over 15 years.

And the Permaculture Design Certification course offered by CRMPI is the now the longest running PDC program in the world.

Indoor Forest Gardens

Never heard of an indoor food forest?  Well, Jerome has 2 of them.  He has tropical climate greenhouse where he grows a food forest of tropical perennials.  And he has another one that’s a Mediterranean climate.

There are 3 more greenhouses at CRMPI, which are kept at a temperate climate and are used to grow annuals. You can watch a video tour of the forest gardens at CRMPI here:

And here is Marjory’s onsite interview with Jerome:

Thanks to Jerome for being such a gracious host.  You can learn more about Jerome and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute here: crmpi.org.

See video of another food forest in Florida: Convert Your Lawn into a High-Yield Food Forest

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This post was written by Marjory


  • Kat says:

    Did my PDC at CRMPI a few years back. It is amazing what Jerome and others have built up over time. Definitely worth checking out. I was a little scared of the road going up too!!

  • Belinda says:

    thanks for the video! – Belinda

  • Steven Norris says:

    How can I get a greenhouse build for me here in the Pacific Northwest

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi Steven – The best option would be to call a local permaculture guild, and ask for a permaculture designer who would build you a sustainable greenhouse. See the video on this page: https://thegrownetwork.com/free-ebook-ideas-for-a-permacultural-greenhouse/.

      If that’s not your thing, you can talk to a builder about a custom greenhouse – that’ll be expensive. And there are some really nice pre-fabricated kits out there with extruded aluminum frames – you could probably find a handyman or landscaper to install one of those for you.

  • Arlene Johnson says:

    How do you pollinate in a greenhouse??

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Good question – I’ll shoot Jerome an email an see if he’ll tell us. I know people who keep citrus trees indoors & they pollinate them by hand, with a paintbrush. I wonder if it’s something like that…

    2. CaptTurbo says:

      Many plants are self pollinating.

    3. Michael Ford says:

      Hi Arlene – Jerome got back to me about how they handle pollination – here’s what he had to say:


      To pollinate in the greenhouse, we basically just open the doors and vents to bring in the outside pollinators and they take up residencies in the greenhouse. We have lacewings that are native and live in there year round. We also have beneficial wasps that live in and on the banker plants. By using banker plants and other insectary plants we harbor, feed, and host beneficial insects of all kinds. There seems to be something even in the middle of winter pollinating the citrus and other plants, we’re not always sure what it is but it happens. In new greenhouses you may need to introduce some insects that hopefully will become naturalized in your system. Early in the spring our neighbors bee’s find their way in and start pollinating too. Hummingbirds and dragonflies also come in. If you build it they will come.

      Thanks so much, I appreciate the article and the question!!

  • Susie says:

    Thank you so much for the great information. As a native Coloradan just learning permaculture, I sure do appreciate someone who has paved the way in growing so much food in our (wait 5 minutes and the weather will change) climate. Will have to get up to the hills and see what else I can learn.

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