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For many Americans tired of driving to the grocery store for their weekly produce, foodscaping is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative. Instead of a yard full of grass, foodscaping is a landscaping technique that covers all usable space with an arrangement of plants that can be eaten.
If you own a home, there’s a good chance you have some form of landscaping in your yard, whether it’s shady trees or blooming flowers. But combining your landscaping with foodscapes could provide a visually appealing yard that also produces meals – and will help you cut back on your gas and grocery bills. Without further ado, here are four reasons to give it a go.
1. Fresh produce without a trip to the store.
Foodscaping offers an ultra-convenient alternative to going to the grocery store to buy produce. Instead, fresh produce is just steps from your kitchen. Foodscaping also gives you control over the quality of the food you eat. You’ll have organic, pesticide-free food at your fingertips every day!
2. Reduce your carbon footprint.
Speaking of cutting out trips to the grocery store, foodscaping can help you cut back on your carbon footprint! Fewer trips to the store mean you can avoid the carbon emissions from your car, as well as the emissions from shipping produce across the country to the supermarket. Most of the fruits and veggies at the grocery store travel hundreds of miles in inefficient refrigerated trucks that are environmentally taxing.
3. Cut down on your gas and grocery bills.
Reducing the number of trips you take in your car means you’ll save money on gas. However, foodscaping can also help you save on your grocery bills. The upfront cost is roughly equivalent to landscaping with trees, shrubs, and sod. But over time, edible plants can pay for themselves. The fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from your yard year after year can save you a bundle on groceries. Some have claimed to save more than $1,000 a year by dedicating some yard space to food.
4. Save time and energy with low-maintenance plants.
It may seem like an edible yard is a huge time commitment, but it doesn’t have to be. If you choose hearty plants that are native to your area, they will grow easily with little effort on your part.
- In hot climates, such as Texas, look for plants that require little water. Beans, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli do well in drought-like conditions.
- In humid conditions, such as those found in Florida or Hawaii, try your hand at tropical fruits such as pineapple, bananas and mangos.
- For colder climates without frost, plant blueberries, strawberries, melons and rhubarb that will add color to your yard. Plenty of tree varieties do well in this type of climate as well, so you can enjoy fresh cherries, plums, olives and almonds.
- In the extreme cold, you’ll want to grow hardy plants that can withstand the cold. Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peas, radishes and chard do well in cold climates. There are also many berries, nuts and fruits that can survive the bitter cold.
5. Find a creative outlet.
Especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many have turned to gardening as a creative outlet while they are working from home. Foodscaping can help you avoid extra trips to the grocery store, and you may find maintaining your yard can become a calming and enjoyable hobby rather than a chore.
Jenna Careri is a writer covering the environment and energy industry. She is a Massachusetts native and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and French.