Letter to the Editor

Edible Landscapes: A Beneficial Addition to Our Stevens Point Community

Stevens Point has multiple natural areas and parks which provide our community members and guests with space for exercise, entertainment, education and inspiration, all in hopes of improving our quality of life. However, our parks have the potential to improve our quality of life beyond recreation and exercise. Our parks have the ability to provide one our more basic needs, food.

It is widely acknowledged or at least heard of that our current lifestyle is exceedingly demanding of the environment. There is also a concern on whether our current arable land will be able to provide enough food for the predicted population of 9 billion in 2050. Concerns over oil production, food security, climate change, habitat loss, species diversity, drought, water pollution etc. are becoming increasingly worrisome. It is in light of these concerns that I ask the community of Stevens Point to begin to rethink how we manage our parks and lawns. The establishment of dual purpose “commons” for recreation and subsistence may very well be a practical step towards improving food security and community resilience to future environmental changes.

Within one growing season a great number of foods products could be produced. Maple syrup and fresh greens in the spring, herbs and berries in the summer and a multitude of fruits and nuts in the fall could all be provided through the planting of edible landscapes. Children and community members can snack on a variety of foods from apples to plums, amidst a walk or playing on the playground. Families could spend quality time together collecting apples for apple crisp while educating themselves on the trees that produce it. Food not utilized by the surrounding community could be harvested and donated to local food-shelves.

Edible landscapes can improve our quality of life by providing nourishment and supporting traditional recreation. Consider developing your lawn into an edible landscape; plant an apple tree, blueberry bush or strawberry patch and enjoy the multiple benefits of your natural area and perhaps edible landscapes could show up in our public spaces too.

 Ellyn Knapp

Foley, J. (n.d.). Feeding 9 Billion. Retrieved April 1, 2015, from National Geographic: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/feeding-9-billion/

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