Conventional ideas about what a landscape should look like are being challenged left and right, from young homeowners like Sarah Baker of Baker’s Acres, who are standing up for their right not to mow their lawns, to Brie Arthur’s passion to start a movement to incorporate food with flowers throughout suburban and urban landscapes nationwide. As younger generations step up as consumers and industry leaders, these changes are likely to continue, and the horticulture industry, which has the most to gain, would be remiss not to embrace and influence them.
Well known for her personal foodscape, which she has promoted across social media, and her annual tomato-tasting fundraising event benefiting the nearby J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, N.C., Brie Arthur has also been working with schools and her local Homeowner Association (HOA) to challenge the traditional idea of the landscape to one that incorporates the growing of food with mainstream, foundation ornamentals.
In her view, if everyone in the hundreds of thousands of suburbs around the country grew food in with their flowers and donated the harvest to a local foodbank, suburban households could go a long way toward stamping out hunger in their communities. All they need to know is that they can do it, even with a small piece of land, and how.
“There are nearly 100,000 HOA-maintained neighborhood entries in the U.S.,” Arthur says. “That equates to a lot of square footage of open-mulched space that could be used to grow seasonal food.”
In 2016, Arthur will introduce her Foundation Foodscape Initiative, a project promoting sustainable, local food production, to landscape professionals.
“Through collaborations with professional installation and maintenance companies, everyday foundation landscapes are transformed into beautiful, purposeful gardens,” she says. “Ornamentals and edibles mingle throughout the seasonally lush landscape, increasing biodiversity, attracting beneficial pollinators and providing organic produce for homeowners.”
Foodscaping Goes Big At Disney
The Epcot Center Foodscape was planted for the 2015 International Flower Festival. The entire property of Epcot had edibles mingled with ornamentals. In many places the food crops grown were being used at the restaurants on site (each country), and chefs provided demonstrations of cooking from the garden. Epcot Center saw a 25 percent increase in attendance from season ticket holders (locals) as a result of the food integration in the landscape and the on-site cooking programs.