Archive for the ‘Edible Landscapes’ Category

While it’s great that many people these days are trading their yards for gardens, it really is worth noting, that it is truly a lifestyle choice. It is a path that some people choose to walk to its fullest and it takes courage, commitment and dedication to stand-up and be different; to blaze a trail and create a pathway and opening for others to follow. That’s what one family in Pasadena, California has been doing for nearly two decades.

Meet the Dervaes, a true urban homesteading family. Back in the 80’s, they set out to grow their own food on their tiny little lot of under 1/4 acre of land. Fast forward to the present day, they grow 6000lbs of produce on a 1/10 acre garden, utilize alternative energy, water conservation techniques and more to create a nearly 99% self-sustainable lifestyle. They are basically a family of four living off-the-grid right in the heart of an urban sprawl, demonstrating that it can be done.

They are on a path, a green path of sustainability that has created a whole movement they named “A Path To Freedom” back in 2001. Providing outreach programs and services they are sharing their passion and knowledge of everything green, inspiring people far and wide. With the new documentary film about their family called “HomeGrown”, their green path is truly creating a revolution, encouraging people to grow greener home pastures filled with abundant gardens.

Now while I have to admit, I don’t see myself being nearly self-sufficient anytime soon, I can say that I am indeed inspired when I hear stories like this. It makes me want more than just a tomato plant someday. And isn’t that how we begin to cultivate change in the world? One small plant for man, one giant crop for mankind?


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Sure a great lawn is a nice status symbol, but is it really necessary and perhaps even a tad bit wasteful? The earth is filled with wonderful ways to provide abundance for us. What if — what if we turned all our front yards into vegetable gardens? 
When most people think growing vegetables, we think traditional rows of farm land or a big backyard overgrown with plants, but there’s a new way to garden with artful intention making a front yard stand out and provide nourishement for a home owner and the neighbors too.
With a book entitled “Edible Estates: Attack On the Front Lawn” architect and artist Fritz Haeg began a series of prototype gardens to create this reality throughout the country in 2005. It’s a project that’s making waves, or shall I say, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, berries….  
There are gardens in Salina, Kansas, Lakewood, California, Maplewood, New Jersey, London, England, and more…Check out Haeg’s site EdibleEstates.org  and you can choose the various projects from the drop down menu and see photos across the top of the screen to give you an idea of what it’s all about.  

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Growing vegetables is not just for farmers or backyard gardeners anymore, high profile places are stepping up to the plate and helping to make statements about creating sustainability by growing local produce.
The City Hall in Baltimore is giving the grounds that normally contain annuals a big sustainable makeover. The harvests will be donated to a local program called Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen which feeds several hundred people on a daily basis. Now seriously, when you stop to think about it, how cool is that! Most major cities have places that help feed the hungry of all faiths that rely on food donations of various kinds. Imagine the benefits of getting fresh local produce donated, both from an organizational funding standpoint as well as the health benefits that come from eating fresh, ripe, healthy vegetables.
There are efforts around the country dedicated to helping get gardens planted in high profile places. Remember, everything starts with one idea from one person, so keep your eyes open as you drive around town with your gardening glasses on. One suggestion to your local city or town is sometimes enough to get the ball rolling (or shall I say shovels digging), volunteers stepping forward, and seeds planted. There are a few other city government building gardens around the country already in the planning stages so be sure to keep your eyes out, it’s a trend I am sure will continue.

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Growing your own fruits and vegetables in your own backyard, or rather front yards (who would have thought!), isn’t just for the avid gardener anymore. It’s a popular trend that’s catching on all across the country. It’s even making it’s way into mainstream places like People Magazine. This happened to be the first article I saw after learning about such things (read my about page for more info on that).
It’s truly something anyone can do. Seeing the before and after pictures in this article was such great inspiration. 
Here’s the archived article to check it out (click on each page to enlarge and read) http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20277032,00.html

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