The Permaculture Podcast

    1730 – Teaching with Games: Food Forest Card Game

    My guest today is Karl Treen, the creator of Food Forest Card Game, a deck of cards designed to teach the needs, yields, and connections of plants and animals within a food forest and within nature, so players can then take what they learn and apply them to gardens and the world around them. All while cooperating, having fun, and subversively learning a message about how to care for Earth.


    Click here to download the episode. | Open Player in New Window

    We also share our own experiences of warm memories with friends and families playing games, both as children and adults, and how we can use games in the classroom. On this last point, I give a quick overview of one of my favorite Permaculture Design Course games: design island.

    Karl then shares how he lives his ethics by making inexpensive options available for teachers, giving back to his local community, and offsets the impacts of the production of these cards, and his interest in reforestation.

    After the conversation with Karl, I include a short conversation with Jason Godesky on his insight into the intersection of games and education.

    Find out more about Karl and Food Forest Card Game at:

    Food Forest Card Game

    What I like about games in a permaculture context is the social atmosphere games create for us to work with one another, in a cooperative game, or to compete in a friendly way with no or low stakes involved. These interactions provide a slow and small solution to get to know others and foster the long-term relationships necessary to build our tribe or create a community of others interested in the same kinds of activities. Though they may not engage in permaculture directly, we need everyone to join us to create the social, cultural, and political change to create the world we want to live in. One of us can make a huge difference, but together we increase our diversity and the number of connections and possibilities.

    If there is any way I can help you find an interesting game for your classroom, a game night, or a party, let me know.

    Also, I’d like your feedback on this two guest, single subject episode. Was the addition of Jason’s voice helpful in understanding Karl’s approach to The Food Forest Card game?

    Leave a comment or get in touch with me directly:

    Call: 717-827-6266

    Or drop something in the post:

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    From here, for Patreon supporters, check your Patreon feed at on Wednesday, November 1, as I’m giving away a deck of Food Forest Card Game cards to supporters. There is also another giveaway still active for Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, and Bryce Ruddock’s Integrated Forest Gardening: The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems.

    The next interview, out ad-free on November 7 for Patreon supporters and November 10 via the website, iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts, is Kai Sawyer who joins me to talk about permaculture in Japan and how he navigates living in the gift economy.

    Until then, spend each day creating the world you want to live in by taking care of Earth, yourself, and playing games with your community.


    From Karl Treen
    Food Forest Card Game
    Food Forest Card Game (Facebook)
    Permaculture Providence (Meetup)
    Permaculture Providence (Facebook)
    Eden Reforestation Projects
    Food Forest Card Game Thread (

    Cities in the Wilderness

    From Jason Godesky
    The Fifth World
    The Way of the Human Being by Calvin Luther Martin (Yale University Press)
    Vincent Baker / Lumpley Games
    Thoughty – Brie Sheldon (Interviews with Game Designers)
    Spiel des Jahres (Game Award – English Website)
    Mensa Select Winning Games
    Pandemic Legacy Season 2 (Z-Man Games)

    Organizations and Individuals Researching the Impact of Games
    The RPG Research Project
    Sarah Lynne Bowman, PhD
    The Bodhana Group


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    • 1837 – Permaculture play, design considerations, and a... My guest today is Karl Treen of Food Forest Card Game. He joins me to share where his life has gone since our interview last year. Support the Podcast on Patreon A longtime permaculture practitioner, Karl is one of the people whose work I follow off the air and I find quite a bit of [...]

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