By Kay Whatley
This is a challenge to the developers who are building communities with hundreds of houses. Can’t you develop in a way that the homeowners-to-be will have a sustainable leg up?
Instead of filling the new neighborhood’s landscape with ornamental foliage, couldn’t you install native food-bearing bushes and trees instead?
More and more people here in the US are interested in gardening and having access to fresh fruits and nuts. Be innovative! Turn your developments into sustainable developments. Would it really cost that much more? Look at what you spend on the ornamental trees and bushes, then look at what fruit-bearing trees and open garden areas would cost. Would the out-of-pocket costs be about the same?
Plus, you never know what might happen. You might end up able to charge more for a home that is in a community geared toward sustainability. That’s a big buzzword these days; plus, it is a good idea for food-eating humans.
Not only will edible landscapes provide food for the residents, staying away from ornamental plants completely may help to prevent poisonings from young children putting things in their mouths that aren’t edible.
Maintenance would mean trimming, just like for ornamental plants. Build a clause in the Homeowners Association contract that plants must be cared for organically, and you don’t need to worry about chemical poisoning, while homeowners don’t feel compelled to ensure their apple trees are worm-free. Less maintenance costs for you, and more organic-living people wanting to live in your development. Is there a downside?
Worried that the neighborhood might look a little unmaintained in the Fall with rotting apples on the ground? Well, if you plant it, the homeowners who come will understand that uneaten produce will be underfoot. The people who don’t understand and don’t want that, well, they may move out quickly; however, you’ll have made your money on the original sale, right? No money lost, and to some degree you’ve given your homes an advantage for future generations. You know, because the plants you installed will be feeding people long after you retire.
So think about it, please, and the next time you’re sitting down with your landscape designer I challenge you to create a fully-edible landscape. Your profit margin will likely come out close to the same as when building poisonous landscaping. Think about creating an edible landscape where people can more easily feed their families, and share with their neighbors. The neighborhood may more quickly build community and cameraderie. Isn’t that worth something to you?