Edible Estates' Haeg Sees 'Turning Point' in Aesthetic History
Fritz Haeg -- of Edible Estates and other like-minded projects -- stopped by Farmlab on Friday, December 15, 2006 to provide assembled members of the general public and the Farmlab team with data, anecdotes, history lessons, case studies, and, in no small supply, inspiration.
Much of the information in Haeg's power point presentation and an accompanying short video was directly related to the conceptual roots -- please pardon the pun -- and subsequent execution of the first two of nine planned Edible Estates.
The inaugural estate is in Salina, Kansas, near the geographic center of the continental United States. The follow-up work occurred in Lakewood, California, a well-known post-WWII Southern California suburb.
The basic action of Edible Estates is to replace archetypal grass, chemical-laden suburban lawns -- "moats," Haeg called them at his Farmlab Salon -- with vegetable- and fruit-bearing plants.
Haeg believes the modern lawn is "an overtly hostile space," and "a defensive space." Like others before him, he traces the emergence of the suburban U.S. front yard to old English manor homes, when a (wealthy) man's home really was a castle.
Two Edible Estates might not a subdivision make -- much less a nation -- but Haeg has great expectations. "This," he told the Farmlab Salon crowd, "is an important turning point in our aesthetic history."
It's not without reason that Haeg, an architect and artist, has become such a media darling. He's as comfortable mentioning the Journal of Aesthetic Protest as his is talking about how much kids dig gardening.
At the Salon, Haeg also gave his (green) thumbs-up to the Farmlab team to use the Farmlab name, which, purely by coincidence, is similar to Haeg's GardenLab moniker. That name, Haeg said, derived from his wanting to offer balance to college students who were spending time in their school's Computer Lab, but not much time outdoors.
Haeg's Farmlab Salon marked the return of such open-to-the-public forums sponsored and planned by the team that put on semi-weekly programs during the Not A Cornfield project.