October 6th, 2010
(Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn has been revised and reissued by Metropolis Books. Here, in an interview with the American Society of Landscape Architects blogger, Jared Green, Haeg discusses how a remake of the American neighborhood lawn aesthetic could be both practical and artistic. Haeg is an artist, designer, gardener and writer whose temporarily in Italy on a 2010-2011 Rome Prize Fellowship.)
Q: In the new edition of your book Edible Estates: Attack On The Front Lawn, you argue that ripping out front lawns and replacing them with fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens can “ignite a chain reaction of thoughts that question other antiquated conventions of home, street, neighborhood, city.” Why does this start with the front lawn?
The front lawn is wrapped up in our ideas of the American dream. It’s a very iconic and loaded space. When you remove it and replace it with something else, you are questioning all of the values implicit in the lawn and what it stands for. It is significant to me not just because it’s a private space that’s very public – so visible in our cities and such an obvious opportunity to reconsider – but also because of what it symbolizes. The easiest first step for the urban citizen who wants to make a visible impact on their city is to go out that front door and get their hands in the dirt. It is the leading wedge into more complex and ambitious civic activity.