Originally from southeastern Michigan, Brie Arthur studied Landscape Design and Horticulture at Purdue University. With more than a decade of experience as a grower and propagator at leading nurseries such as Plant Delights and Camellia Forest, she now combines her passion for plants and sustainable land management by communicating the value of gardening across the US. Brie has been dubbed a revolutionary for her leadership in the suburban Foodscape movement and for her work with public schools across the US. She appears as correspondent on the PBS Television show “Growing A Greener World” and, this year, Brie was honored as the first recipient of the The American Horticultural Society’s Emerging Horticultural Professional Award.
In her debut book, The Foodscape Revolution, Brie seeks to reinvent the common landscape by growing food in under-utilized garden spaces around homes or in the landscaped common spaces of planned communities. Read on to learn more about this St. Lynn’s press book and enter below to win a copy!
1. What is foodscaping and how did foodscaping become a way of life for you?
Foodscaping is the integration of edibles in common landscapes. It is a growing strategy that makes the most of the land you are cultivating no matter how much space you have. Foodscaping became a way of life for me in several ways. First it focused me as a home gardener to evaluate the food crops I could grow in a meaningful amount to make a real impact on our grocery bill. It also has enabled me to be an expert at organic land management, which is something that I hope to see more people learn about.
2. Why should foodscaping be on the top of everyone’s mind?
Well, everyone eats, so we should all at the very least have an appreciation for the resources that we currently access through the grocery store- 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Growing food for yourself is not only satisfying from a self sufficiency standpoint but it increases your awareness of all that goes into making food available. I think every person on this planet should grow some food crops at least once if for no other reason than to value the hard work of farmers.
3. Suburban landscapes have the potential to grow massive amounts of food providing fresh organic produce to everyone. Why has this potential been left largely untapped?
That is a great questions and I ask myself this all the time. Why have we created landscape covenants that prohibit food crops? What do we segregate our vegetables to straight lines in raised beds ultimately creating mini monocultures? I don’t know why but I do know that Foodscaping is a great way to make the most of under utilized spaces in your landscape.
4. Does foodscaping require a total reimagining and reworking of a landscape or can it be easily weaved into the existing landscape?
Not at all! In fact it is quite the opposite. You want to keep the bones of your landscape through the trees, shrubs, perennials and even grass that already exists. Every landscape has open mulch space between the existing plants- that is the area to focus on when considering a foodscape. Also, bed edges are a great opportunity to grow simple edibles like garlic, onions, lettuce, peanuts and basil. It is easy to access and doesn’t impact the growth of any of the other plants in the bed.
5. How does your book help us transform our landscape into a foodscape?
I hope The Foodscape Revolution will open people up to the idea of growing just some food in a convenient space. Instead of having your vegetables stuffed in the back corner of your yard, move them to the areas that have easy access to water and that are in your daily walking paths, that way you notice if plants are dry or you have ripe produce.
6. What advice do you have for those of us considering giving foodscaping a try?
My best advice is always to start small and grow on your terms. Don’t grow vegetables that you don’t like to eat. Look at your normal weekly cooking and see what you eat the most of and then look at your landscape and see the open areas where you could tuck a few plants. Start with easy to grow plants like garlic, sweet potatoes and strawberries and then as you get more familiar with the process add a few more of your favorite edibles. The main thing is to have fun while you are growing delicious food to share with your family.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, September 24, 2017 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:
Why do you want to give foodscaping a try?
Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)