Discovering the actual opposite of a food desert!

On this edition of Saturday’s Around the World, we’re taking a look at what’s growing near the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island, and how its existence is helping enhance the community surrounding it!

In the early 1990s, Robert and Robyn Guyton came across this property in the photo above, located in the small town of Riverton, NZ. At the time, it was overrun with trash and little to nothing was growing, but coincidentally, this was exactly the type of land they were looking for.

So they bought it, cleaned it up and began planting with an innovative type of forest in mind. As everything began growing over the years, birds stopped by and found homes, searched for dinner, made babies, helped pollinate the plants, and controlled the bug populations. The forest continued to thrive as the Guyton’s continued planting — even fish began to visit through the streams that formed!

They’d created a food forest, a magical place with layers and layers of goodies for human consumption from the fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs and vines, to the various root vegetables hanging out in the soils.

The best part? It’s insanely easy to maintain…as long as you’re able to sit back and allow nature to do its thing.

Happen Films put together a wonderful video, called An Invitation for Wildness, showcasing the Guyton’s gorgeous forest and all of the fantastic things they’re able to do with it as a part of their Living The Change series! Check it out!

VIA: Happen Films  1

Every single description of the forest is a huge benefit! Their backyard is giving them so many new opportunities for growth, both within their own personal lives as well as, on a larger scale, inside of their community. 21 years ago, the Guyton’s began the South Coast Environmental Society and created an Environment Center in their town to allow healthy, natural products to be easily accessible to those that live in the surrounding area! This center also acts as a home base for numerous local and international environmental groups!

Can you imagine something like this in your own community, growing wild but providing food for so many?

Could food deserts, where healthy food isn’t accessible for miles from a community, be a thing of the past if we put our focus on transforming and managing land in this way and providing a space for people to access the healthy products?

It’s wild that there are so many pieces of land out in the world that, with some love and care, could come back to life, thrive, and be exceptionally beneficial to us all. Take one of the places we’ve featured on a past Saturday for example, the Selah Bamberger Ranch. For years and years, the land was completely dry and unable to sustain more than one type of plant, but with some time and care, it’s now a thriving and wonderful part of the Texas landscape. How cool is that?

This could be your back yard.

Nothing is ever past the point of saving, and nature is more powerful than we may think.

Keep yourself open to new possibilities and happiness will stay close by.


Looking to grow a little more today?

You’re in the right place! Throughout our pages, you’ll find hundreds of reasons that show how our world is still an amazing place to be! There are so many more we’d like to share with you and in the upcoming week, our website will be growing a little more in order to accommodate and showcase all of these fantastic truths. But, in the mean time, please enjoy our site just the way we are!

If you aren’t quite sure where to begin your journey, we have this nifty little “Surprise Me!” button in our sidebar that’ll bring your straight to a random article!


  1. “Thriving 23-Year-Old Permaculture Food Forest – An Invitation for Wildness.” YouTube. Happen Films, 24 Nov. 2016. Web. 16 July 2017. <>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.