No More Front Lawns

By Charlie Nardozzi

For more information on the Edible Estates initiative, go to: Edible Estates.

In most American households, food gardens are relegated to the back yard. But front-yard vegetable gardens were the norm back in the early 20th century, when yards were used primarily to produce food for the kitchen. Los Angeles landscape architect Fritz Haeg is on a mission to bring back the front-yard edible garden. But he sees it as more than just growing food. He sees it as an attack on the American front lawn.

Haeg states on his Web site: 'The lawn wastes resources and is an anti-social no-mans-land that we wrap ourselves with, reinforcing the suburban alienation of our sprawling communities. Edible Estates is a practical food producing initiative, a place-responsive landscape design proposal, a scientific horticultural experiment, a conceptual land-art project, a defiant political statement, a community out-reach program and an act of radical gardening.'

So far Haeg has demonstration gardens at homes in Lakewood, California, and Salina, Kansas, with seven more demonstration sites planned for the future. The Kansas garden features 195 different fruits, vegetables, and other edible plants that are grown organically. Haeg is not alone in his passion to transform America's front lawns. He has solicited support from sponsors such as Ford Motor Company, the City of Pasadena, and the Wallis Foundation.

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