Story by Ryan Albritton, Foodscape Manager at Custom Foodscaping
Well, we made it.
It’s a new year and we can get on with things, leaving the past behind us right? Well, no actually. If anything, 2020 marked the point of no return for business as usual. The disruption of the status quo has been rising for several years now, if not for decades. Our world is changing rapidly now—environmentally, institutionally, and socially—and there is no stopping the future. We are in a gray area of uncertainty that many of us in wealthy nations haven’t had to navigate for many generations - if ever. Yet, it should comfort us to know that humanity has survived a grey and precarious reality for six million years, and that even us modern humans, perhaps dulled by technology and a sedentary lifestyle, are still gifted with a large degree of adaptability.
Adaptability requires we float along with the prevailing currents rather than expending our limited energy attempting to swim upstream. Our life raft is our resilience. Resilience looks a little different for everyone, but at its core it’s the universal ability to adapt in the face of change. And to be ready for the changes to come, we must sharpen our skills for observation.
We can reasonably predict that the economic and social disruption we have experienced in the past year, or even the last decade, due to multiple pandemics and increasingly unpredictable climatic events will dramatically increase for the foreseeable future. Food shortages and stay-at-home orders may be things we wish to leave behind us, but there are sure to be more in coming years.
So how about starting with one simple resiliency practice? Let’s grow more food where we all live. This doesn’t mean we all need to quit our jobs and become urban farmers or homesteaders, but adding food-producing plants to our landscapes could be part of the raft we’ll all need at some point in the coming years.
For those already in the landscaping industry, offering foodscaping services better equips our business to meet the demands coming with more social and climate shifts. More people want to grow their own food, and you can be the guide to show them the way forward.
Welcome to The Foodscaper.
Born out of partnership among the Custom Foodscaping Team in St. Louis, The Foodscaper has the goal of providing resources to anyone wishing to cultivate a foodscape: a homeowner wanting to extend the yield of their garden by planting perennial fruits and vegetables in order to feed their family, or a landscape designer looking to evolve their business and skill sets as their clients seek more food-producing landscapes.
We hope that by sharing our experience and expertise, and inviting others to do the same from different climate zones and regions, we can help inspire a future where foodscapes grow wildly in every yard, school, office campus and community center. How amazing would that be?
Homeowners: we’re here to support you in creating your foodscape dreams. We’ll share tips on sourcing the best varieties of plants for your foodscape, tricks of the trade from master foodscape designers, and ideas about how to create gardens that work well for your busy life.
Foodscape professionals: this is a forum for us to share and collaborate. We want to tap your expertise, highlight your projects, unpack your process and share stories from your clientele.
Landscape professionals: we’ve seen a huge demand for replacing our urban and suburban spaces with food-producing landscapes. Are you fresh on your skills to meet this new (and here to stay!) wave in the industry? For you, we'll be sharing a forum of continuing education, ways to market yourself as a foodscaper, and skills and techniques that are specific to the world of foodscaping and permaculture.
It’s a lot to learn, and we can’t do it alone. We wouldn’t want to either. One of the reasons we are so excited about The Foodscaper is all of the potential connections and collaborations that will stem from it. As nature so wonderfully shows us, a healthy ecosystem is extremely diverse - and a wide range of voices featured on The Foodscaper are an inextricable part of that diversity.
Will you join us and the many others already engaged in this work of resilience-making? Our raft is large —planet-sized actually— so there’s a place for everyone. Let’s do more than just brace for an uncertain future. Let’s create a world so abundant in delicious, edible resources that there’s more than enough to go around.