Edible Estates


When does a garden become art? When it's part of the Tate Modern's new exhibition, Global Cities, which examines the impact of urban growth on the environment. They have commissioned an artist, Fritz Haeg, to turn a lawn into an edible garden. He worked with residents of a local housing estate in an area surrounded by busy roads, with little green space. Together they designed and planted a garden composed of only edible plants, including vines and beans for height and marigolds for colour and to keep away bugs. Included is a sitting area made of sections of tree trunks. At the Tate, there is an exhibit providing information for others wanting to create their own as well as a charming video of the local children's reaction to the planting. Fritz Haeg is anti-front lawns because they waste land, water, and resources. He has started several projects across the United States where he replaces suburban front lawns with vegetable gardens. In the beginning the concept was controversial because in middle-class neighborhoods the idea of actually using the front yard for anything other than ceremonial purposes was unusual. Maybe we are all so used to front yards being replanted with native plants now--in Toronto it is de rigeur in certain areas--that this Tate project has lost its novelty value. In any case, London houses don't have front lawns for the most part, particularly compared to those in the USA, so the idea doesn't have the same resonance here. :: Tate Modern

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