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Interview with Zach Loeks author of The Edible Ecosystem

Today’s blog is an Interview with Zach Loeks, author of The Edible Ecosystem Solution: Growing Biodiversity in Your Backyard and Beyond featuring our winning giveaway question.

What is an edible ecosystem?  

An edible ecosystem is a landscape that has food plants (from apples, pears and raspberries, to mint, chives and thyme), that are planted in a layered way. It is planted in a way that encourages the natural relationships between different plants. Edible ecosystems, unlike gardens, create a multitude of services for people from food production, to pollinator habitat and soil creation. It also provides larger benefits such as food security in a community that can only be resilient when generated by a self-regulating and perpetuating perennial landscape.

How do edible landscapes benefit society?  

Edible landscapes provide food, water purification, air production, mitigation of the urban heat island, space for nature therapy…you name it.

What are ecosystem services?  

All ecosystems provide services for humans and all life on earth. Ecosystem services include production of goods like wood, fruit, nectar, but also services like purification of water and reduction of erosion and pollution of our streams and lakes. Ecosystem services such as habitat for pollinators are quite valuable because many of our food plants depend on the pollination of bees and the insects that themselves need reliable nectar sources and environmental conditions to thrive that are provided by ecosystem landscapes.

How do I make my own garden spot?  

Follow the recipe in this book! It is laid out in a step-by-step format!

What does it mean to be an EPI site?

EPI stands for Educate, Propagate, Inspire, and this is what EPI Site does! An EPI Site is any garden spot that follows a checklist (which can be found in the book). The checklist is effectively a recipe for how to turn your garden or edible ecosystem landscape into a place that helps catalyze change in your community. It does so through demonstrating good garden design, sharing knowledge and plants and inspiring people to take up the call to action and pick up the shovel to plant a tree.

Winning Giveaway Question

zWinning Question from Elizabeth Cronin

Do you see a future where tenants would have the right to garden if there's a lawn at their home? I live near a family who aren't allowed to have even a small raised bed, just because the landlord prefers the lawn. Do you see growing plants for food as a right that should be accessible to all people, regardless of income?

Thank you for this. I do, actually i expressly say that “edible biodiversity = true human habitat, and is a human right” and even suggest the new human rights museum in Winnipeg integrate edible landscapes into their outdoor spaces.


About the Author

Author Zach Loeks

Author Zach Loeks

Zach Loeks is an award-winning educator, designer, author, consultant, and grower who specializes in Edible Ecosystem Design around the world. He is the director of the Ecosystem Solution Institute and author of The Permaculture Market Garden. He lives in Cobden, Ontario.

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