I had an unexamined assumption that a food forest was synonymous with swales built on contour.
Then I read Richard's comments:
"Firstly I think we should be asking, do we want a food forest contour swale system or a food forest without the earth works.
Swales are designed to infiltrate water into the landscape, which is probably a good thing on Waiheke through the summer months but during the winter it could mean that landscape below the swale can become waterlogged. Which is something to be aware of. Contour swales are not really appropriate for steep areas as well as they can possibly lead to slips later down the track."
I am curious as to the correct approach for a food forest without a swale system. Also, whether a swale is really appropriate for a small project.