Food Forests are human-made ecosystems. They are known for sustainable plant-based food production and are created through companion planting. Arguably the world’s oldest form of land use and most resilient agro-ecosystem, Food Forests can be a significant source of food security.
Mary Mattingly creates “living sculptures” that function as an ecosystem. Her Arctic Food Forest is a sculptural garden on the Anchorage Museum’s front lawn that includes both native and non-native plants that – until recently – might not have been able to thrive in Alaska, encouraging visitors to question how environmental change might change the flora and the food sources, of the North. The museum will also host discussions around food.
Included in the Arctic Food Forest are arctic medicinal plants. One such plant is Devil’s Club, also known as Alaska ginseng. Devil’s Club, for example, is used for colds, cancer, depression, stomach problems, broken bones, burns, congestion, and inflammation. It is considered “strong medicine” due to its effects on psycho-spiritual aspects of a person.
View more work by Mary Mattingly.