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.
Slow Food San Gabriel Valley Meeting and Potluck - Be sure to attend this event if you are a San Gabriel Valley Food activist! This is a meeting to determine if there is enough interest to start a Slow Food chapter in the San Gabriel Valley. This is a potluck so bring a dish to share; with so many foodies you can bet the food will be great! The event will feature presentations by leading food activists from the San Gabriel Valley. It starts at noon on Saturday at the Church of the Brethen in Glendora. Learn more here.
There are several interesting food events taking place in Los Angeles this weekend. If you're looking for something to do, these seem like great options:
Food Day: Choose Health LA has a list of several events happening this weekend in conjunction with Food Day 2011. Food Day is a nationwide event modeled on earth day; on October 24th Americans are encouraged to eat healthy and affordable food that is also sustainably produced. Farmscape is joining the city of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Food Policy Council to celebrate - Where will you be?
Gathering of Community Gardens: The Los Angeles Community Gardening Council is hosting the 5th Annual Gathering of Community Gardens this Saturday at Loma Alta Park. The event will feature workshops about various sustainability and gardening topics. Some of Farmscape's friends will be presenting, including David King of the Venice Learning Garden, LA Sprouts, Glen Drake, Florence Nishida and many more. The event will take place on Saturday from 8 AM - 4 PM and is free with lunch provided.
The Los Angeles Magazine Food Event: This year is the sixth annual LA Magazine Food Event, so you know that it will be fantastic! According to their website, "the day features great chefs, culinary experts, sommeliers, plus lots of food, wine, and other treats." The event will feature celebrity chefs hosting cooking demonstrations and informational panels. It should be a great community event with some of the best tasting food and wine around. The event will take place Sunday October 23 from 1 PM - 4 PM and will be held at the Saddle Rock Ranch in Malibu.
Landscape Water and Conservation Fair: Farmscape will be tabling at this event from 9 AM - 2 PM at the Chino Basin Water Conservation District. If you are planning on attending, please stop by our booth. This free fair will have a free petting zoo, face painting, and pumpkin patch for kids and for the adults there will be free water conservation workshops. We hope to see you there!
Home Coffee Roasting Class: Ian Riley, a master roaster at LAMILL coffee with be hosting a home coffee roasting class on Sunday, October 23 from 10 AM - 12 PM. The class is being held at the historic Zane Grey Estate in Altadena where the Altadena Urban Farmer's Market meets monthly. For $95 you can learn how to roast, brew, and taste your own coffee. The fee includes snacks, ingredients for the coffee, and supplies. If you're interested in the class, you can learn more and register online here.
Farmscape wants to spread the word about your food or gardening event! Please email email@example.com with community event suggestions.