Fritz Haeg is unleashing an attack on the American lawn, this “carpet of conformity.” Over the next three years, Haeg’s Edible Estates project will replace the front lawns of nine single-family homes with food-producing vegetable gardens. The families have agreed to maintain the gardens, so the work is a permanent living installation.
Not only does the lawn take a tremendous amount of water to keep it green, but the two-stroke engine used by lawnmowers produces some of the worst carbon-dioxide emissions for a motor of its size, contributing to global warming and other air pollution. Add to the picture the pesticides and herbicides used to keep front lawns green. “We’re stuck with this idea that plants that produce food are ugly, and lawns that you have to pour chemicals on and mow are beautiful,” says Haeg, who hopes his lawns can reverse that thinking.
The next regional prototype in the Edible Estates series will be established in Los Angeles in spring 2006. Haeg is looking for L.A. citizens brave enough to break this toxic uniformity, by having their entire front lawn removed and replaced by an edible landscape. Haeg will work in collaboration to create the layout, design and plant specifications.