Friday, September 30, 2016

Food Forest Card Game Website

I am excited to say that the Food Forest Card Game is now available on my new website's "gift shop" page. The website is a work in progress, with lots of pages still under construction, but please let people know that the cards are available as of today!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

And They're OFF!

As I write, hundreds of boxes of cards are flying to all corners of the globe, spreading the word about food forests and, hopefully, inspiring new projects on the ground.

If you supported this project through Kickstarter, your cards should be arriving soon.  There were a few supporters who did not send me their addresses. They should feel free to contact me through Kickstarter so that I can get their thank you gifts into the mail.

I will be taking the month of August to recuperate before launching the cards to the general public, through this website and through retail locations.  So, if you know of a museum store, botanical garden, nursery, farm stand or gift shop that might be interested in carrying these cards, please direct them to this website in early September. If you have friends who missed out on the Kickstarter campaign, please let them know that the cards will be available after my vacation.

Thanks again to my hundreds of supporters and friends who made this project possible. We would be nowhere without you!


Friday, July 8, 2016

Cards Printing!

Hello Friends & Backers!

Yes, I have neglected this website, choosing to stay in touch with my backers directly.  I hardly realized that I had left it without any news at all!  The truth is, this has been such a busy time that I haven't had a moment to think about anything beyond getting the cards edited and completed.  But they are at the press right now.  In fact, I was able to watch the beginning of the print run on Wednesday and took some photos of the printing process.

From the beginning I have struggled to make this a local product.  My first samples, however, could not be printed locally.  I tried to do them locally but nobody local was willing to print just 30 sample decks.  Now, thanks to my wonderful Kickstarter backers, I have been able to set the cards up at an amazing printer in East Providence, RI, only 15 minutes from my own doorstep.  This means we've been able to cut one leg out of the shipping process, keep the process local, and keep it just a little bit greener.

The cards are being printed on 30% post-consumer recycled stock - a compromise between quality and responsibility.  Playing cards have to withstand the rigors of regular use, which necessitates some fresh materials.  However, all of the "fresh" paper comes from FSC certified, sustainably-managed forests.  The boxes, themselves, are 100% post-consumer.  The printing process is low-VOC and as environmentally friendly as we could make it.  

Best of all, 100% of our Kickstarter funds will be spent in Rhode Island, USA.  I hope to have the cards available by September for online, and wholesale, orders.  In the meantime, I am going to continue focusing on getting the first 500 decks out to my amazing backers! 

Thank you all for your support.  Check back in August for more news on the Food Forest Card Game's public release.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Only 48 Hours Left!!!

Hello Beautiful Backers!

We are just about to head into the final 48 hours! If you have meant to pledge and just didn't get the chance, this is your last opportunity to do so!

Thank you so much to everyone who has pledged, and helped out, along the way! Your help has been wonderful and your support is unbelievable!


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thank you!

As this campaign draws to a close, I am thinking about all of the people to whom I owe thanks. At the top of the list are the many folks at who have selflessly reminded their readers about this project. The "Dailish Email" (subscribe here: and this great discussion thread have given us constant attention!

Please join me in thanking Paul and his team for our success.  And please consider signing up for the "Dailish Email".  If you are interested in Permaculture, this is a great way to keep up on what's going on in our world.

Thank you Burra Maluca and Paul Wheaton! Without you, we might never have been funded!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Free Original Artwork Raffle!

Great news!  

We just passed 80% this morning!  I am so thrilled that I have decided to give away some of my favorite original artwork!

Simply put, all you need to do to be entered in the raffle for the Scarlet Runner Beans artwork is to click this link and back the project.  Every dollar pledged counts as one virtual ticket.  Backers also have a selection of great thank you gifts.  If you want more details, read on.  If you are satisfied with the short version, please just back this project before our time runs out!

This is artwork that I drew for the cards and is the actual pencil sketches that were scanned to create the cards in this deck!  These pencil sketches are uncolored, because the coloration was done on my computer, but the winners will also receive a (non-archival) color printout of the artwork.

The two drawings to be raffled are the scarlet runner bean drawing and the daikon radish drawing.  The daikon radish sketch will be raffled off to one of the current backers*.  The scarlet runner bean drawing will be raffled off to any new backers beginning tomorrow, 3/25/2016, at 12:01 AM EDT. Every dollar donated is worth one raffle ticket.  If you already pledged $25, you have effectively purchased 25 tickets for the daikon radish drawing raffle**.  If you pledge $25 beginning tomorrow, you earn 25 tickets in the "new backers" raffle.

But, to be legal and fair, there is no contribution required.  Here are two ways that you can automatically be entered into both drawings:
1. Earn 10 free tickets: To earn 10 free tickets for each raffle, leave one nice comment about the cards on our thread - starting today!  Please do not mention the raffle on the Permies thread! If you are concerned that I might not have your contact information, or might miss the entry, you can alert me via this Kickstarter campaign. (Limit one entry via this method per participant. Comments mentioning the raffle will be disqualified.)

2. Earn another 10 free tickets for each raffle: contact me via the website's Contact Us form - located on the right-hand sidebar. Make sure to include the words "Enter Me in the Artwork Raffle" at the top of your message. (Limit one entry via this method per participant.)
Please note, if you have already backed the project, you can still be entered in the second drawing.  Simply increase your pledge, and your additional pledge money will count toward the second drawing. Or you can also use one of the two methods above to earn free tickets for each drawing.

Each drawing will be sent to one of two lucky winners at the end of our Kickstarter campaign.*** Limit, one piece of artwork per winner!
* Current backers are defined as backers who donate before midnight 3/24/2016, EDT.

** If you are a backer and DO NOT wish to be automatically entered into this raffle, please contact me through the Contact Us form on the website and include the words "Please do not enter me" at the top of the message.
The fine print: If the Food Forest card game Kickstarter campaign does not reach 100% of its final goal, the raffle will be cancelled and no artwork will be given away. Artwork will be sent by the least expensive method upon the successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign. Campaign (and raffle) ends Thursday, April 7 at 1:46 PM EDT. Artwork will be sent with signature confirmation. If artwork is verified to be lost by the United States Postal Service, another drawing, chosen at the sole discretion of Karl Treen, will be substituted in its place as compensation. Delivery  will be verified using USPS signature confirmation (where available) and will be considered delivered if signed by any receiving party. International deliveries will be attempted but cannot be verified.  Unverified losses, or losses that occur outside of the United States, cannot be compensated.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hello Friends,

Just a quick note to tell you that the Food Forest Card Game Kickstarter campaign just started!  Please take a moment to check it out!  There is a video and other information, not to mention a great selection of Thank You gifts for those who are kind enough to give us their support!

Most importantly, please help us out by sharing this information on Facebook.  We really need people to share our links as often as possible.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Hello Friends!  It's almost crunch time for me and the Food Forest cards.  The Kickstarter campaign is being reviewed right now!  Anyhow, thank you for all of your support!  In the meantime, here is a nice post put together by my friends at Permies.  Please check it out and comment if you have time.  Our comments will keep it rising to the top!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Food Forest Game Cards: Improved Layout!

Dearest Food Forest Enthusiasts!
Thanks to my wonderful review team, today we introduce an improved design for the Food Forest playing card design.  Aside from a pile of new cards, there are several important changes to notice:
  • Ghost images will allow folks to customize their own cards!  A thin, black sharpie is all you need to color in an icon to customize a plant's card.  For instance, perhaps you think
  • The infinity symbol icon: If you know of a connection between two plants, and if you can describe and defend it, you can play the connection using the infinity symbol.  We have not yet updated the rules to incorporate this change but you can feel free to tweak the rules whenever you like.
  • At the bottom of each card we have removed the "type" and replaced it with one of the 7 layers of the food forest: overstory, understory, shrubs, climbers, herbaceous, ground covers, and roots/tubers.  In addition to these seven layers we have included structures, animals, insects and natural disasters.
  • Finally, we have added a card that you can customize with your own plant!  See below for an image of this customizable card.  There will be four of these with every deck, and additional customizable cards will be available through our crowd funding campaign. Once you get your cards, we hope you will share your special plants with us so that we can incorporate them into future expansion packs.

You can see all of the completed cards on the Completed Playing Cards page.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Finally, I am excited to announce that we will soon finalize a date at the beginning of March to launch our crowd-funding campaign!  The cards should be complete by the end of the campaign, so the Food Forest playing cards will be the most prominent "thank you" gifts offered during the campaign and will be shipped as soon as we can get them out the door.

Warmest wishes!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Chicken - A Game for Food Forest Playing Cards

A poker-style game for 2 - 6 players

Chicken is a guild-building game wherein you race against your opponents.  You must balance the need to finish the hand quickly with the desire to acquire more points.  By holding out for more points, you play a metaphorical "game of chicken" with your opponents, hoping that they do not beat you to winning the hand!
Click here

Chicken card for Food Forest card game
Chicken card for Food Forest Card Game

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Road to a Greener Business...

At heart I am a skeptic.  When a business claims to be "Green", my mind immediately goes to the details. "What's your carpet made out of?" "What kind of ink do you use?"  "Do you compost?"  When I hear about a business claiming to be green, these questions flash through my mind in such a blur that I hardly see the products that they offer.

A recent seed order from a "green" seed company came in a standard bubble pack - which I will reuse to ship some sample Food Forest cards.  But part of me felt a little let down - and at the same time enlightened.  Now I knew what I wasn't going to do when it came time to ship my own items.

So I went searching for recycled and compostable mailer envelopes.  I got online and quickly found a great little company called EcoEnclose.  Even their website comes in a brown wrapper (ha ha)!
EcoEnclose is a great, recycled packaging company

As I sat down to write this blog post I was feeling rather proud of myself.  I had jumped one more hurdle on my way to becoming a "green business".  But there are still so many environmental costs involved with buying envelopes for each and every item that I intend to ship.

I don't want to be a downer at all.  I love these compostable envelopes.  But any time you produce a product, even from recycled materials, there is a cost - and not just a price-tag cost but, also, an environmental cost, including what we call a "carbon footprint".  EcoEnclose has tackled several issues by using recycled, compostable materials.  No trees are being cut down to make their packaging - and that is great! It appears that they use solar electricity to produce at least some of their products; they are probably great to their employees; and their products are somewhat less likely to find their way into the landfill. Win-win-win-win!  But there is still a carbon footprint, and if you can reduce it you should.

Here are the issues as I see them:
  1. Manufacturing footprint: repurposing all of those recycled materials into a new product has an environmental cost.
  2. Shipping footprint: the envelopes would need to be shipped at least two ways: from EcoEnclose to me and then from me to my customers.  And the cardboard and newsprint has to be collected and delivered to their manufacturing facility - which is perhaps a necessary evil until we can figure out how to eliminate packaging altogether.
  3. Product price: as much as I really want to support great companies like this, I have to watch my own budget.  It costs money to buy these envelopes, and making money usually creates a bigger footprint.
So I had this green guilt "problem" and, to paraphrase Bill Mollison, perhaps the problem was the solution. My product is small enough, and sturdy enough, and pretty much all the same shape.  I began thinking of all the cardboard boxes I see in the liquor and grocery stores in my neighborhood.  All of this cardboard is completely free for the taking, and reusing it is cutting out the manufacturing middle-man, thus saving energy and money.  

So I got out my industrial, manual paper-cutter and started measuring some cardboard boxes.  It was not long before I realized that, with a little tape, I could quickly fashion a wrap-around package for my playing cards that was almost precisely the same dimensions as the packaging I was considering buying.  I don't like the packing tape part, but EcoEnclose has a product that will soon solve this dilemma for me: Water Activated Kraft Paper Tape.  When I place my next order with them, I'm going to give this a test!

So I will be sending out my samples in my own upcycled envelopes and asking for feedback.  If you are a reviewer and receive this makeshift package, please let me know what you think.  And please excuse the plastic packing tape.  Hopefully that's only a temporary solution.

Upcycling may not be practical on a large scale.  I have already ordered EcoEnclose packaging and expect to be ordering more.  But when I have the time to upcycle my cardboard, I'll definitely be doing that, too!

Warmest wishes,

Friday, January 1, 2016

"When can I buy your cards?"

You can currently get a deck of the Food Forest card game by supporting our Kickstarter campaign:

After the campaign, we will be busy fulfilling our thank you gifts but hope to have the cards for sale by September, 2016.  Details will be available on this website as soon as the cards are ready.