Editor's note: This is part II in Jesse's series of posts on "The Case for Homegrown Food." Part I is accessible here. Check back later this week for the third and final part in the series.
You are in control of the land use decisions on your estate. Your land sits atop what used to be some of the best farmland in the country. Los Angeles lies within a Mediterranean climate zone, which places us in a fairly elite geographic club comprising only two percent of the world’s land. Our biome is cherished by farmers because it accommodates year-round cultivation of a remarkable spectrum of crops, like tomatoes, peas, grapes, cherimoyas, broccoli, and kale. Agriculturally, the acreage beneath LA is an amazing resource.
If someone cultivates it.
According to the Food Policy Task Force, the whole of Los Angeles County grew enough food in 1955 to feed 14 million people. Since the 1960s, agriculture has been steadily driven out of the area by urban development. Almost none remains. What has this land become?
Grab a window seat on your next flight out of LAX. As you take off you can look out at the houses and yards stretching for as far as the eye can see, from Hancock Park to Northridge to Newport Beach. Look down at the city grid or the meandering cul des sacs and try to count the green lawns row by row. Any airline ticket will give you a stunning tour of our values. From above you’ll see that humans still irrigate and fertilize a lot of land. It is all sod. Los Angeles farms grass.
Before it was lawns or farmland, the region was virgin chaparral teeming with native flora and fauna. An ecologist might observe that agriculture was harming the environment before the development of the megalopolis. Happily, city dwellers don’t have to bring back the same industrial farming. In the city structure, Los Angeles can actually create a more sustainable agriculture based on human labor and organic methods.
Farmscape offers this low-impact farming as part of its compromise solution for land use. Because people have to live somewhere, and Los Angeles is inherently a beautiful place for crops, people, and hairstreak butterflies alike, we’ve devised a mixed-use strategy to balance the competing demands on our land. Unlike the farms that were here fifty years ago, Farmscape will not use harmful synthetic pesticides, nor will it erode our soil resources. It will not turn the land into hard-pan, nor slough ammonium nitrate into waterways. Instead, your Farmscape farm will be a yard-sized model of ecologically responsible land management.
We encourage you to surround your farm with a water-wise landscape featuring drought-tolerant plants. Whether you select a modernist style or a classical, whether you prefer succulents or California native flowers, water-wise landscaping looks beautiful and the options are diverse. Reduce your water use and let your yard reflect your values with a cutting-edge landscape design featuring a productive personal farm.