Blogs Field Guide Anna Bierbrauer

Anna Bierbrauer currently serves at the Residency Coordinator for Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City. With a background in gardening and public art, she is delighted to be combining her skills and apologizes for any dirt she tracks into her office. Anna holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the UMN and is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Design.

At Home in the City Weekly Update: August 2

Pardon our silence. It hasn’t been for lack of action but rather due to far too many tasks to be accomplished out in the real world away from the computer. Foraging Circle: The July heat kicked everything into high gear and Foraging Circle is beginning to live up to its name. Raspberries have ripened, Calendula […]

Pardon our silence. It hasn’t been for lack of action but rather due to far too many tasks to be accomplished out in the real world away from the computer.

Foraging Circle:

The July heat kicked everything into high gear and Foraging Circle is beginning to live up to its name. Raspberries have ripened, Calendula seeds have been saved, Feverfew continues to bloom, and there is a Sunflower taller than Fritz. As plants fill in and grow up, hunting and gathering has become more of a challenge and, frankly, much more fun!

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At Home in the City Intern, Will Gobeli, going after the unwanted plants. Photo by Bridget Mendel.

 

Edible Estates:

Although I can personally confirm that the only thing used in the soil at Edible Estates was high quality compost, you might believe otherwise after walking around a bit. Everything is taller, lusher, and, quite possibly, happier in the Woodbury Edible Estate than in any other garden I have seen around town. As the wide variety of veggies we recieved as donations have matured, some fascinating discoveries have been made. Do you know how beautiful Purple Cauliflower is? How about Purple Brussels Sprouts? Have you ever thought of exchanging your chewing gum for a leaf of Lavendar Hyssop? Do you have juicy, ripe Fall Gold Raspberries to pick? You are not the only one drooling on your keyboard right now. Keep your eye out for a feature on KARE 11 and an update in next week’s Star Tribune.

Rest your back against the plush Brussel Sprout seating. Photo by Ashley Duffalo.

Rest your back against the plush Brussel Sprout seating. Photo by Ashley Duffalo.

 

Domestic Integrities:

Our domestic work reach full speed with Fritz’s arrival this past week. We were fully prepared: we gathered over 300 pounds of discarded fabric for the rug-making; we sourced baskets and jars and vessels galore to hold all of the goodies; and we organized a small army of volunteers to join us in Cargill Lounge to help Fritz crochet the Walker Art Center portion of the rug. Our planning and hording did not go to waste. After a week of traipsing around threads of fabric and eating our weight in bread and jam, the rug is complete and ready to be moved into the exhibition gallery. We couldn’t be more pleased with the process and with the product. Come on over, take your shoes off, and take a little stroll; you will never believe how plush this rug feels!

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Artist Fritz Haeg gives the first volunteers a training on how to crochet. Photo by Gene Pittman.

 

 

At Home in the City Weekly Diary: July 2

We are beginning to settle down a bit now that the gardens have been completely installed, the rain has been easing our watering duties, and the plants seem to be making themselves at home in their respective places. All of us in the Education and Community Programs Department have now taken a collective deep breath and […]

We are beginning to settle down a bit now that the gardens have been completely installed, the rain has been easing our watering duties, and the plants seem to be making themselves at home in their respective places. All of us in the Education and Community Programs Department have now taken a collective deep breath and are ready to move forward with preparations for the gallery installation beginning at the end of the month.

In an effort to keep everyone abreast on what is happening within the three portions of Fritz Haeg’s residency — Foraging Circle, Edible Estate #15, and the exhibition featuring Domestic Integrities A05 — we have decided to do a weekly report on the ongoing efforts of At Home in the City. The At Home in the City rockstar intern team has also started a Tumblr of their own to keep a record of their activities related to the residency. Please visit The 5-H Club to see what they are up to!

Weekly Diary: July 2

Foraging Circle: Last week the first of the perennials blooms emerged. Early Sunflower (Helianthus helianthoides) and a surprise Mexican Red Hat (Ratibida columnifera) as well as Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) and Borage (Borago officinalis) – technically self-seeding annuals – were the first to show their colors. While Early Sunflower and Mexican Red Hat are useful for attracting pollinators and the seed heads are great food for birds, Feverfew and Borage have uses within the home. Fewerfew is most well-known for its ability to help with migraine headaches. The flowers of the Borage plant can be candied and used in desserts. Borage leaves can also be eaten in salads when young or mature ones can be boiled and eaten as sauteed greens. If you want to read more about the plants in Foraging Circle, please check out Foraging Circle Field Guide.

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Feverfew and Early Sunflower in bloom. Photo by Anna Bierbrauer.

Edible Estate #15: The Schoenherrs are keeping busy in their garden – both with the work it takes to upkeep such a large edible garden as well as with hosting friends and family in the space. Being the industrious folks that they are, they  initiated Wednesday Pizza Nights where neighbors can join them for a few garden tasks and be rewarded fresh produce and fresh pizza at the end of the night. Last week they also hosted a friend for a talk on the medicinal power of herbs complete with a herbal tea infusion tasting. Find out more about how they are adjusting to owning an Edible Estate at their blog.

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Brassicas are doing well. Photo by Andrea Schoenherr.

Domestic Integrities A05: We have been busy sourcing furniture and materials for the gallery exhibition. Fritz had a brief layover in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon and spent most of it looking for furniture at Piccadilly Prairie. We are also in constant pursuit of old clothing and fabric so rug weaving can begin on July 30th. If you want to clean out your fabric bin or have some clothing to donate please let Ashley Duffalo (ashley.duffalo@walkerart.org) know. One of the largest pieces of the exhibit is going to be an aerial image of the Twin Cities metro on a wall measuring 13′ tall by 33′ wide. Not surprisingly, sourcing data with a high enough resolution hasn’t been easy but I dove into the world of ArcGIS and have had lots of help from the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office and the Community GIS Program at CURA.

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The extent of the aerial image for the gallery wall. Image from Google Maps.

More to come next week!

From Lawn to Garden: Edible Estate #15

The land cover in the outer Twin Cities has changed drastically in the last 20 years: areas that were once farms became the booming suburbs of Maple Grove, Chaska, and Woodbury. Urbanites often like to think they are the progressive, community-focused tenants while their space-loving suburban counterparts hide behind their privacy fences; but, Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estate […]

The land cover in the outer Twin Cities has changed drastically in the last 20 years: areas that were once farms became the booming suburbs of Maple Grove, Chaska, and Woodbury. Urbanites often like to think they are the progressive, community-focused tenants while their space-loving suburban counterparts hide behind their privacy fences; but, Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estate #15 seeks to turn that notion on its head. “The projects I’m most interested in,” he said in recent interview, “are the ones that exist in this fantastic, ideal notion of what the city I want to live in looks like—creating some small piece of that and putting it into the least likely part of the city to see that contrast between the city we want and the city we have.”

After a Twin Cities–wide call to find the right family, 100 applications, and 10 interviews, Haeg found the perfect suburb-dwelling family: the Schoenherrs. They garden, they make bread, they wanted to have a place to grow their community connections, and they had a huge front yard. But finding the right family in the right place was just the beginning. How, in fact, does one actually execute the transformation from prized front lawn to productive edible garden?

How does this…

before
…turn into this?

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Over Memorial Day Weekend,  more than 75 volunteers — in combination with the Schoenherr Family, Walker staff, and Fritz Haeg — worked tirelessly to convert 4,500 sq feet lawn into an edible garden as part of Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City. The process involved one sod cutter, two trips to the landscape dump, 17 bags of leaf litter mulch, 30 yards of compost, 40 shovels, a wood chipper, thousands of plants, and one very skilled laborer, Stan the Boyfriend.

First we started with Fritz’s design diagram…

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…then we added in a cohort of eager volunteers…

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…and finally we laid out the beds and started digging!

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Hardscaping materials included stumps and rocks scavenged from the local landscaping dump, a fallen willow from a neighbor’s yard, and rock reused from previous landscaping in the yard.

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Then we left the heavy lifting to the hardest workers…

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…and moved 30 yards of compost into place.

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With the table terrace fully in place, the first plants went in early Sunday morning.

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Strawbale gardens started by the Scheonherr family became a teaching tool incorporated into the kids’ garden.

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Planting was the easiest part of the process and left plenty of room for chatting.

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With everything planted, mulching and watering were the last tasks to complete.

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After the hard work was done, we fired up the brick oven and celebrated with a pizza party.

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Tired bodies were complemented by a great sense of satisfaction and a celebratory christening of Edible Estate #15.

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This family  is ready to break down stereotypes about life in the suburbs. Don’t you want to join them for their weekly community “Pizza Night in the Garden”?

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John, Andrea, Catherine, and Aaron Schoenherr. All photos by Alison Malone.

 

 

Fritz Haeg: Suburban Front Lawn Wanted for Edible Estate #15

Dear Twin Cities, I grew up in your suburbs and am returning this spring to plant the last in the series of Edible Estate Regional Prototype Gardens commissioned by the Walker Art Center. Today we begin the search for a site with an open call. Edible Estates brings visible food production to cities, working with […]

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Dear Twin Cities,

I grew up in your suburbs and am returning this spring to plant the last in the series of Edible Estate Regional Prototype Gardens commissioned by the Walker Art Center. Today we begin the search for a site with an open call.

Edible Estates brings visible food production to cities, working with families around the world to create diverse organic productive pleasure gardens out their front door. It was initiated on Independence Day 2005 with the planting of the first garden in Salina, Kansas, the geographic center of the United States. Since then others have been planted in Budapest, Istanbul, Rome, Ridgefield (CT), Manhattan, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Austin, London, Maplewood (NJ), and Lakewood, (CA), plus Holon, Isreal and Aarhus, Denmark coming later this spring. Prototype garden locations are selected for maximum impact, visibility and influence, providing a vivid contrast with surrounding landscapes of suburban lawns and inner-city concrete.

The design and planting list will be developed in collaboration with the owners. Materials and expenses for the first season of growing will be provided, but the household(s) commit to continuing the garden indefinitely. We will remove the entire front lawn and plant during May 2013 with local volunteers.

The garden will be documented through the first season in a journal by the owners, weekly photos and a video by the artist to be featured in the fall exhibition at the Walker Art Center opening August 8, 2013, and a chapter in the expanded third edition of Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn (Metropolis Books, 2010) to be released late 2013.

Here are the guidelines for the ideal garden site:

• The NEIGHBORHOOD should be in an outer suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul where lawns rule and residents wouldn’t otherwise consider publicly growing food, ideally at the moment where housing development meets farmland.

• The RESIDENCE should be a typical or common local living situation opening on to the front yard with windows or doors. We would be particularly interested in a duplex or multi-unit complex where several households share a surrounding open lawn.

• Estate OWNERS should include at least one avid gardener, be enthusiastic about the project while aware of the amount of work it will involve, committed to continuing the garden as long as they are in the house, and eager to share stories about the project, including a regular journal through the first growing season.

• The FRONT LAWN should be flat, pesticide free, with good sun exposure, few large trees or major landscaping, and very visible from the street with regular traffic. It should ideally be surrounded by other front lawns where a disruption would be dramatic.

Email me with questions or submissions, which should include:

• Images of your street, front lawn, home and family

• A brief statement about why you are interested

• Your complete address, contact information and full name

For press inquiries please contact Rachel Joyce at rachel.joyce(AT)walkerart(DOT)org

See you in the Spring,
Fritz Haeg

For more on the project, read “Gardening Between Hope and Doom: Fritz Haeg on Edible Estates”

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