Wow, talk about the ultimate in lawn substitutions! If you've been following the news lately, you've probably heard about Slow Food, "an international organization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from homogenization of modern fast food and life."
This weekend, I visited San Francisco's recent contribution to the movement - the Victory Garden planted where sod used to be across from San Francisco's stunning Beaux Art City Hall.
The garden's construction is wonderfully appealing - circular beds created with straw filled bales allowed easy access for the many visitors to wander through. I loved the way the garden mixed edibles and flowers for apractical, yet visually appealing effect.
I also enjoyed several mini-theme gardens, including one showing California Coastal Native Scrub plants. Perhaps if I show this photo to the beach strawberry cheerfully colonizing my shade garden, it will finally be convinced it doesn't belong here and relocate to a new address on the coast.
The slow food movement is not completely without controversy, however. Following is an email from landscape designer Alma Hecht protesting the temporary nature of the Victory Garden.
"...are you aware that the Victory Garden in Civic Center is merely a two-month installation and that it is slated for destruction following the Slow Food Celebration? Only by remaining permanent can the garden be called a true Victory and not a Hypocrisy or Photo Opportunity garden. The energy to build the Victory Garden and disassemble it and re-sod the area is a shameful waste of resources, insult to the community, and negtion of the Slow Food Movement's intentions..."
Alma's point is well taken, but a different view is held by my fellow designer Shelley Somersett, an East Bay expert on edible gardens, who has been volunteering time in the Victory Garden. Shelley feels that any effort to educate the public and raise awareness around our need to embrace a healthy food system is a worthy one. As somone who generally has to be bonked over the head multiple times before embracing a new idea, I see her point as well.
So, I'm on the fence - what do you think?