This photo of foodscaping has been circulating on social media for quite some time. I too have shared it. This is all about community sustainability .Each yard is a vegetable garden and neighbors consult and plan what each will grow so they can trade. Infact this is the perfect example of Mahatma’s dream of self-sufficiency. Unfortunately this is not from India but from Geneva, Switzerland
According to Wikipedia Foodscaping, is a type of landscaping in which all or major areas of a lawn on private property or sometimes public property are used to grow food. It has been considered as a hybrid between farming and landscaping in the sense of having an “all-encompassing way of growing a garden, feeding yourself, and making it look pretty” with an “integrative landscape
it is what everyone should be doing in every neighborhood around the world. This would cut down any chance of use of chemicals as everyone will be sharing. Transport, cold storage and packaging which leave a huge carbon foot-print will be drastically reduced. Imagine if we did this in the in our layouts or housing societies. Instead of planting palms and eucalyptus one could always plant fruit trees with creeper vegetables on them . Every single bit of empty land should have some food plant .
Small farms on rent on the outskirts of cities are good but not sufficient for the needs of a big city. Infact it has become more of a weekend getaway for working people who don’t bother to check on the “Organic Status ” of their farm for the five days of the week. Infact most of such farms are using highly polluted lake waters to irrigate.
Big multinational organizations maintain median gardens and other green nooks and corners near their buildings. A few have now started with giving small sections to employees to grow food . How a city can be self-sustained in fruit and vegetables is shown by a city in Nilgiri region of India. It is perhaps the only city where one can see the Geneva like foodscaping with most of the houses within the city growing something or other.
I will not reveal the name of the city and leave it to the readers to guess.
Being a hilly region land is not flat and roads, layouts , houses are not on one level. Maybe this step like rise and fall aid in the small food growing patches getting irrigated properly by rain water(which is local as surrounding evergreen trees make rains).
Not even a little bit of space is wasted
Driving on the roads surrounding the city one can see small patches of vegetables in backyards, front yards, and other open spaces.
Another eco-friendly aspect is that people usually sell their produce just on the roadside-absolutely farm fresh. There are no middle-men, no transport or packaging. Locals and tourists alike purchase the produce . We did too while returning from our vacation . Quality is excellent. Being fresh it lasts a long time even if a lot of it is purchased. Saves going to the market several times. It also provides work to mostly elderly people.
What we don’t know about the produce is if chemicals are used are not. With little training they too can learn benefits of organic farming. Air and water quality of the region is good because of it being a hilly region with no industrial pollution. Lots of trees bring in rain which cleans up the air and improves the water quality.
What they really need is planning. Almost all of them grow the same type of produce. Benefits of crop rotation, synergetic farming and agroforestry are not known to them . Will it be good if green entrepreneurs find out about this place and rush in to provide them the required guidance or they themselves discover these benefits over a period of time. I would prefer the latter as it wont destroy this sustainable culture by bringing in commercialism . What are your thoughts?