But the design can go further. Should the emblem of our city, the nexus of municipal power, boast a landscape of only grass and flowers? Is that what we stand for? I think Los Angeles should ask more of its landscapes, public and private. I think we can do better. At City Hall we should also grow food crops in a demonstration garden, out front for everyone to see.
After attending a few of the redesign meetings downtown, we drew up plans for a City Hall landscape restoration, Farmscape-style. You can view a small version of our plan above, or click here for a high resolution version of our design.
You’re wondering: Why do you want to build a garden at City Hall?
What we do with the land outside our buildings is a very public exhibition of our values. And at a landmark like City Hall, our decisions echo across the city. Landmarks are models for landscaping options to all residents and land owners in charge of LA real estate, and that’s how movements are built.
Still you ask: Is it feasible? Is it reasonable? Isn’t gardening a throw-away hobby?
Gardening is not an idle hobby. Farmscape manages nearly one hundred intensive edible gardens across the city and has grown at least 30,000 pounds of produce by organic methods in these gardens. We estimate a well-managed garden in LA can grow at least 3-5 pounds per square foot per year, meaning a garden instead of several hundred feet of lawn could on average yield more than twenty pounds of heirloom fruits and vegetables per week. Fruit orchards perform even better on a pound-per-square-foot basis. For a small fraction of the anticipated maintenance budget for the City’s preferred landscape design -- $135k annually -- we could easily provide weekly maintenance of a demonstration garden larger than 1000 square feet.
Convinced at last, you want to know: How can I help?
The city solicited feedback on their plans for City Hall, and you can offer your opinion on their website. Tell them you want our city to grow vegetables and fruits at City Hall. Tell them you’d prefer the Farmscape plan, or something similar.