Solutions for Self-Reliance

Stop Landscaping, Foodscape Instead

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In United States alone, landscaping is big business.  People spend over $30 billion each year making their homes more appealing using traditional landscaping techniques.  When you factor in DIY landscaping projects, it ends up being around $400 per household being spent each year on average.

Thanks to a faltering economy, the landscaping business has slowed noticeably in recent years except for one category.  Money spent on food gardening has increased significantly each year with recent estimates reporting that over $3 billion is spent each year on food-specific gardening projects alone.

This demonstrates a growing awareness of the importance of sustainable food products in America and around the world.  If you have been part of the Resilient Movement for a while, you already know how important producing our own food is for long-term success.  If this is a new concept to you, read on!

We want to take a look at how foodscaping compares to conventional landscaping in terms of cost and resiliency.  Hopefully, you will realize the value of foodscaping as a viable food source and a way to beautify your property simultaneously.

What is Foodscaping?

We have covered foodscaping in detail in previous posts and through our member’s section so we won’t go into too much detail here.

Basically, foodscaping is landscaping with food.  Rather than plant flowers, trees, and shrubs that only look nice, we grow plants that look nice and provide us with a sustainable food source.

Not only does this provide us with food year after year, but we know exactly what we are eating.  On average, food travels 2,000 miles from farm to plate.  We can do better.   Foodscaping means our food only has to travel 200 feet from our garden and onto our plates.  Which would you prefer?

foodscape1

Many people think of food gardening as long, boring rows of plants.  This is how farming has been done for a long time.  Fortunately, we do not and should not follow this pattern for our own food.

Foodscaping allows a variety of edible species to live in relative harmony without the need for extensive human intervention.

Cost Differential

Does landscaping cost more than foodscaping?  Or is it the other way around?  Actually…it’s neither.  Both disciplines cost about the same.  The reason foodscaping is just now gaining popularity is because people were unaware of how “hands-off” a properly set up permaculture system can be.

As more companies are spawned that specialize in permaculture, awareness has increased.  Coupled with increased food prices at the grocery store and consumer demand for locally grown, organic foods, the conditions are perfect for foodscaping to replace conventional landscaping techniques all together.

Let’s look at a specific example that illustrates the benefit of foodscaping. The Bradford Pear Tree is renowned as a decorative tree.  It produces beautiful flowers but the fruit is not edible.  You can purchase a 4’ tall Bradford Pear Tree for about $30.

Now…the apple tree.  An apple tree also produces beautiful flowers.  The difference, of course, is the delicious fruit that comes from this tree.  A four-foot tree also costs approximately $30.

 foodscape2  foodscape3
Can you tell the difference? (Bradford Pear on left, Apple on right)

Planting either tree costs the same in time and money and they have similar needs.  So the question becomes – Why wouldn’t you choose the tree that provides food for your family?”

Not only will you be producing fresh, organically grown food, but think about how much money you are going to save at the grocery store.  Some fruit trees, ground plants, and low shrubs can all work together to make your lawn beautiful while keeping your belly and your wallet full.

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