Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I've never heard of the term 'foodscaping' until I've stumbled upon this article explaining the unfamiliar word and the real value which it brings to people. Turned out, it is a word that has to be in our dictionaries necessarily.

In short, foodscaping is a particular type of landscaping, a.k.a. edible landscaping, in which large areas of private, or even public properties are used to grow food instead of decorative plants. Foodscaping is all about planting a garden which looks beautiful and feeds you at the same time. A blend between landscaping and farming, this is in fact a new trend in the gardening industry which gathers more and more supporters worldwide. It is not like having a vegetable garden in the backyard or a few hotbeds to grow fruits and veggies, but it is more like an implantation edible plants into the landscape. If you’re wondering how to landscape your front yard, think berry bushes instead of a shrubbery, strawberries and lettuce instead of grass, fruit trees instead of willows or palms.

One of the benefits of embracing the idea of foodscaping is that it is a very sustainable source of organic, healthy food which also means savings at the local greengrocery. A research of The Australia Institute called “Grow Your Own” reports that the main reason for growing their own food for 71% of the Australians is to have a healthier meal at their dining tables. Еvery second household grows fruits, herbs, nuts and veggies, which equates to almost 4.7 million households growing food. While only 20% of the households in the Northern Territory tend to grow food, in the southern states, such as Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, more than 57% of the households are involved in food gardening.

In a country with so many drylands, the lawn is quite an institution, and Australians have developed a good taste for making a lawn look attractive and colorful. It is ridiculous how more advanced countries modernise their urban spaces by devastating food-producing areas in order to ‘landscape’ them. But what’s the point of maintaining an unproductive landscape in a world where the climate is so unstable and the energy sources are limited? In a world of overpopulation and extremely large amounts of food waste, why not interleave our food system by embracing foodscaping as a standard?

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 17, 2016 at 1:12

Amen to that Dave.  One person's gorgeous is probably another's ugly.  Who cares?! The same was always true of any "landscaping."  Build it the way that you love it.  If you don't chuck in some food crops then you are limiting yourself with prejudice.  If you exclude ornamentals, the same is also true.  Nature is diverse and so is beauty. 

Comment by Dave Riley on March 17, 2016 at 0:56

The French potager kitchen garden is a foodscape as is the traditional cottage garden. The potager is grown with annuals and espaliers and deploys formal patterns. 

The cottage garden is a wilder affair built on mixed vegetable polycultures and flowers.

I find you can beautify any veg patch if you stray away from the strict formalism of monocrops and keenly  intercrop. 

Unlike temperate climates we are not victimised by the seasons here and making shade isn't a major problem.But the 'Queensland veg garden isn't quite an identifiable thing.

This is partly because gardeners here still tend to be loyal to standard European vegetables and many other plants from the sub tropics and tropics  don't get a look in. We are also so often ruled by the aesthetics and horticultural practices of other lands.

But epicurious garden on South Bank combines form, aesthetic and function.

I'm a dedicated cottager and I think my veg garden is lovely to look at. More or less all annuals. Polyculture. Layered with lots of climbing plants. 

I think it needs more form and structure in the air with my aerial lines and while I'm an impulse planter -- as to what:where -- there seems to be a logic in the mix. I have mounds and there are some with their mix of plants I could look at all day.

My knolls. 

And the zucchini, squashes, pumpkins, pigeon peas and herbs have wonderful flowers.There are flowers on the arrowroots and gingers, flowers on Jerusalem artichokes, on the passionfruit vines. Stunning fruit patterns especially with  the elongated squashes. The 

thrill of the dragon fruit flowers. Leaf patterns.

And into that I have real flowers, sunflowers especially but also nasturtiums and sunjewells...and anything I can get to grow.I want a full colour range of cannas growing in amongst it all when I can get the plant stock.. I'm growing a lot of dogbane...and i've just got a few Jockeys' Caps going. Supposedly i'm growing them for the edible tuber but the flower oh the flowers (pictured right)!

In the pond are many flowering plants, but Louisiana Irises especially.

In my vegetable garden I have 15 frangipanis growing. When they grow fully I am sure to have a visual delight. Up them and over: beans and other climbers.

I've tried to grow a lot of traditional cottager flowering plants but they can be temperamental so the soft pastel colours aren't easily replicated.

As for shaping..I just hack with my sickle, otherwise I'd lose my pathways.

The only grass I've kept is a measured space I do dance practice on...and the council won't allow me to cover the whole nature strip with creepers. The rest is blue stones.

I never mow, just whipper snip.But i do use the snipper on the nature strip creeper. i shape them so  line of sight is not compromised.

Comment by Cres on March 16, 2016 at 23:07

Food yes, scaping not so much. I have zero aesthetic skills. Everything I do is about function over form. I am in awe when I see someone create a magical setting with their garden or use a bunch of sticks as a feature in an urn or sets up lighting to create a mood. I'd look at the sticks and think, "I wonder if I can use them to smoke my next batch of bacon" or use it as a garden stake.

It's probably why permaculture's mimicry of the chaos of nature appeals to me. It hides my shame.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 16, 2016 at 22:00

I'm proudly a foodscaper.  I grow lots of annuals and happily eat with the seasons.  The article really just says, "Grow your own food and feel free to make it look good."  We all do that. I trimmed my Egyptian spinach yesterday - dehydrated and stored for winter for use in stews and soups.  I'm forever trimming my Kang Kong - straight into a salad.  I confess I have kept grass in the back but My Rozie wanted it that way, and the chickens do like it too.  

Comment by Barbara Tealby on March 16, 2016 at 21:46

I don't normally mind a bit of trimming, and it makes good mulch, but I'm well and truly over it at the moment, as every shrub in the garden is overgrown and needing to be tamed. I just keep reminding myself that I'm not trimming shrubs, I'm harvesting mulch, which is definitely needed in the vege patch.

Comment by Sasha Middleton on March 16, 2016 at 21:08

I found trimming to be a very pleasant activity actually. I've bought secateurs last year and I'm trimming the boxwood in my front yard ever since. It could be quite exhausting sometimes because it is a very large bush now, but it's okay since I love spending time in the garden.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 16, 2016 at 19:09

This is a beautiful idea, but unless you plant Perennial Food Crops you would be always pulling your garden apart to plant over again. I can see it working well for Citrus, Herbs and Beneficial Insect Plants. Plants would need to be able to be trimmed for best effects. As much as I love the idea, I would have to employ a gardener to do all the trimming.

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