There are several systems devised to decide what is appropriate to plant, where.
The Species Index has several climate zones for each species. However, due to the fact that it is the most informative and nuanced, we chosen Sunset climate zones as the key way to determine what is appropriate for your foodscape’s climate context.
Sunset climate zones take into account: continental air influence; mountains, hills, and valleys; and microclimates.
The Foodscape Tool uses Templates for each instance of Foodscapes. These come with preset, recommended values.
Templates use two spatial dimensions – horizon (vertical plane) and area (horizontal plane) – to avoid potential conflicts while planning foodscapes.
Horizons are divided into several stacked spatial segments Understory, Canopy, and Overstory; each separated by a potential clearance horizon. There is a Special Clearance available for overhead power lines or existing trees.
Areas are divided into two categories: bounded (inside planting) and Periphery (outside). Bounded areas include Core, Intermediate and Boundary.
Both the template’s views are preset with suggested default values; all of which the user may change.
Horizon views have the ability to deactivate/activate horizons and clearances, as well as, define their upper and lower heights relative to the ground.
Area views have the ability to deactivate/activate areas, as well as, define their distance relative to the planting outside boundary. Area views have the added capacity to allow users to designate which horizons will be present in each area and which will allow an overhead tree canopy.
The Foodscape Tool applies a given template with default or user-defined settings to the Species Index, a database of productive perennial plants.
The Tool begins with a full possibility of plants for any given site and steps through a process of elimination using filters. As users set their preferences for both the horizon and area view, the list of appropriate plants that fit that context is reduced.
Horizon filters include maintenance required, maximum harvest frequency, toxicity hazards, etc. Area filters include fruit drop frequency, leaf drop frequency, physical hazards, etc.
Once the user sets their template filters, the Tool generates a plant selection list.
Prior to making the selections, the user has the ability to set assembly filters that will assist the user in making the wisest selection possible.
The user may link to the Species Index to retrieve more information and from their link over to any number of PDFs to provide further information on the plant species.
An optimization process informs the user how well balanced the planting arrangement might be.