Dear Twin Cities,
I grew up in your suburbs and am returning this spring to plant the last in the series of Edible Estate Regional Prototype Gardens commissioned by the Walker Art Center. Today we begin the search for a site with an open call.
Edible Estates brings visible food production to cities, working with families around the world to create diverse organic productive pleasure gardens out their front door. It was initiated on Independence Day 2005 with the planting of the first garden in Salina, Kansas, the geographic center of the United States. Since then others have been planted in Budapest, Istanbul, Rome, Ridgefield (CT), Manhattan, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Austin, London, Maplewood (NJ), and Lakewood, (CA), plus Holon, Isreal and Aarhus, Denmark coming later this spring. Prototype garden locations are selected for maximum impact, visibility and influence, providing a vivid contrast with surrounding landscapes of suburban lawns and inner-city concrete.
The design and planting list will be developed in collaboration with the owners. Materials and expenses for the first season of growing will be provided, but the household(s) commit to continuing the garden indefinitely. We will remove the entire front lawn and plant during May 2013 with local volunteers.
The garden will be documented through the first season in a journal by the owners, weekly photos and a video by the artist to be featured in the fall exhibition at the Walker Art Center opening August 8, 2013, and a chapter in the expanded third edition of Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn (Metropolis Books, 2010) to be released late 2013.
Here are the guidelines for the ideal garden site:
• The NEIGHBORHOOD should be in an outer suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul where lawns rule and residents wouldn’t otherwise consider publicly growing food, ideally at the moment where housing development meets farmland.
• The RESIDENCE should be a typical or common local living situation opening on to the front yard with windows or doors. We would be particularly interested in a duplex or multi-unit complex where several households share a surrounding open lawn.
• Estate OWNERS should include at least one avid gardener, be enthusiastic about the project while aware of the amount of work it will involve, committed to continuing the garden as long as they are in the house, and eager to share stories about the project, including a regular journal through the first growing season.
• The FRONT LAWN should be flat, pesticide free, with good sun exposure, few large trees or major landscaping, and very visible from the street with regular traffic. It should ideally be surrounded by other front lawns where a disruption would be dramatic.
Email me with questions or submissions, which should include:
• Images of your street, front lawn, home and family
• A brief statement about why you are interested
• Your complete address, contact information and full name
For press inquiries please contact Rachel Joyce at rachel.joyce(AT)walkerart(DOT)org
See you in the Spring,
For more on the project, read “Gardening Between Hope and Doom: Fritz Haeg on Edible Estates”