First off, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season.
It’s been great fun here at the Robb household. A great chance to recharge the mental batteries before tackling the challenges of the new year. And what a great year 2013 will be.
To get you started on the right track, here’s a bit of thinking that you should find useful. It’s a rethink of a commonly used term.
When we think about caring for a home’s yard or community’s public land, we typically think in terms of landscaping.
That won’t do.
Technically, landscaping is actively modifying the visual aesthetics of an area of land. It doesn’t concern itself with the productivity of the land. As a result, when we imagine a professionally maintained landscape, we think in terms of its decorative or ornamental value and not its productive value.
To fix this we need new slang to describe the processes we use to improve the productivity of the land. Terms like:
We’d define these terms as any activity that modifies an area of land’s ability to produce food, retain/manage/use water, and retain/reflect/utilize solar energy respectively.
We’re going to be using these terms a lot.
Every square inch of inhabited space, starting with your yard and your community’s public spaces, is going to made more productive. It’s a massive project. It’s a project so large, it’s going to transform the underlying fabric of the global economy.
So, jump in. Get started.
To demonstrate how simple and beneficial this could be, here’s an example of foodscaping a public commons of St. James — a village located in Suffolk, UK.
They planted 100 fruit trees – apple, pear, quince, plum, cherry, damson, medlar - in a section of the public commons a couple of years ago. Here’s the map (click through to enlarge):
So, how does the town benefit from the trees?
Lots of ways. The good fruit can be harvested and given away to residents that would benefit from it. The bruised fruit can be made into chutney and sauces for resale, to support the maintenance of the orchard. Here’s an example of an “abundance” project in Norwich that’s doing exactly that:
The new year looks amazing. Let’s make the most of it.
PS: The classic objection to community foodscaping is: “people will just go in and pick the fruit/vegetables/nuts/etc.” The answer is: “that’s the idea.” Of course, there has to be reasonable limits on this.