Artist Fritz Haeg explains the delawning movement and the edible estate project.
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Fritz Haeg on the Delawning Movement The Edible Estates Project is something that I started in 2005 and the title of the book which just came out is “Attack on the Front Lawn” so it has an anti lawn subtext I supposed and from the beginning of then really interested in using very strong words in my propaganda for the project that was provocative and in the caser of Attack on the Front Lawn those words, those kind of very strong words actually were inspired by the first sentence of Jane Jacobs book “The Death and Life of Great American cities”. In the first sentence of that book is—this book is an attack on contemporary urban planting something… but it’s a very provocative in your face for a sentence that really grabs you and it really pulls you in to the rest of her story which has to do with rejecting the way things are going and proposing alternatives. Like I talk about lawns in general, my project is narrowly focuses on the front lawn because I do think there’s a place for lawns. I don’t I think in on my work I like to create place for diversity and create place for a lot of different ways in doing things because I think their should be room in the way we operate for a lot of possibilities, a lot alternatives and I like to welcome all of those. And I think any kind of practice or disciple in work or architecture designer that said there’s only one path, there’s only one way to do things. I think already in those flood and I think it’s that kind of mentality that I’m fighting in all of my work really I think. So the Edible Estate Gardens are way to welcome and encourage diversity in welcome and encourage self expression in one’s private property. You’ll be at growing your own food in your front lawn but maybe it just that one act will provide license for other people to think about how they using their private property and maybe thinking of using it in ways that are more and keeping with what they believe in. But back to the lawn in particular, the front lawn is this really loaded space I think as an architect I think a lot about space and how we occupy it, how we take the land that we’ve occupied in our cities and how we can us it in a more thoughtful way. So the front lawn is the space that often is completely unused which is almost entirely symbolic, which sets between our private homes and our public streets and there is obviously all these social issues wrap up in that, what is it mean that we surround ourselves with this space that we don’t occupy, that’s this moat or this buffer between us and our communities, number one. Number two it’s the space that depending on where we live, what climate we’re in, we dump a fair amount of fresh water on it that then is immediately polluted by the chemicals that we put in it which washes in to our water supply. And then there’s this active weakly mowing which pollutes the air very effectively even more effectively that a car does. So we’re looking at a polluting resource wasting socially alienating space, it’s ridiculous really when you think of it and if you list all of the properties of this particular spaces especially of the front lawn, you just, you realize it’s how ridiculous this spaces that we’ve been really inherited that we keep pending down generation to the next out of habit really. And it’s only really been so thoroughly embedded in our practice of occupying space for the last fifty or sixty years, so it hasn’t been that long. And if you look back to before the 40’s or 50’s before the suburban born and before the mass housing construction, we weren’t so maniacal about the way we groomed our property or the way we landscaped and actually before that we had pretty broad movement of Victory Gardens during the wars that were strongly encourage by the federal government with so many of the farmers of to war. There was a real concerted effort to have Americans grow some of their own food on their own property. But a soon as the war ended that movement dried up almost immed