A new book out this month promises to fertilize the idea that America's ornamental but impractical front yards would be better off as working gardens. Fritz Haeg says he wrote “Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn” as an expression of his training as both an artist and an architect.
“People have this impression that this is all part of some large organization or business venture,” he said. “It's neither — just an independent artist project that I started.”
Haeg's idea urges Americans to replace their domestic front lawn with a more productive “edible landscape.” The first prototype garden was installed in 2005 in Salina, Kan. Since then three more plots have been dug, in Lakewood, Calif.; Maplewood, N.J.; and London, England. With the publication of the book, additional gardens are planned. One in Austin, Texas, will be partially underwritten by Whole Foods Market; the other will be planted in Baltimore. Haeg's goal is to have nine regional estates so future gardeners can easily get advice and see how each works.
“It's interesting that this came along with this convergence of all these issues about food and water and energy and public green space, community and the environment,” Haeg said.
Does this mean supermarkets will see fewer shoppers buying produce at their stores? Not likely. But it should remind retailers of the importance consumers increasingly are placing on the sources of their food, and the connections they're yearning to make.