Innovation Food Forest

The Innovation Food Forest is located next to Innovation Hall and the Johnson Center on the Fairfax campus. It is a garden designed using permaculture (permanent agriculture) and was created in 2013 by Elizabeth Torrens after she was inspired by the Permaculture Design Certification Course hosted on Mason’s campus in 2012. The Innovation Food Forest is an ecological model and an educational resource for the George Mason University campus.

The site has since then been managed by the Office of Sustainable, which hires staff to maintain it. The primary purpose of a food forest is to restore the natural cycles, biodiversity, and habitat of a forest (capturing and using energy, water, and other resources) while providing sustainable (perennial) food sources for people and wildlife.

Experience it Any Time


Anyone is welcome to visit the site and take home some of the food, as long as they leave some to share with others. Use our Plant Inventory or other sources to identify the edible parts of the plants.

Volunteer or visit during our hours to learn more about the design process, pest management, plant identification and more. No prior experience required. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. The schedule changes each season to accommodate students and changing seasons.

Walk-in Volunteer Schedule: CLOSED for winter



The Innovation Food Forest is located behind Innovation Hall and near the south plaza (ground level entrance) of the Johnson Center. It is marked with a yellow star in this image below.

Learn more about the Innovation Food Forest with the following links:

Point of Contact

Email Doni at for questions, internship applications, requests for tours, etc.

Join our Online Community

Like our page on facebook

Like our account on Instagram @gmufoodforest

Become a member on GetConnected

Watch the video Introduction to the Innovation Food Forest 

About Permaculture

Permaculture strives to create a closed loop environment where the outputs for one process become the resources for another. In nature there is no such thing as “waste.” The concepts of permaculture are integrated into this space: earth care (taking care of, and restoring, the planet and its resources), people care (providing for food, community, and interactions with nature), and fair share (distributing excess resources). While this campus garden serves as a living lab for academic and research endeavors, it also inspires and engages community members, sparking their interest in becoming citizens invested in their immediate environment and the world.