I got a bit of flack for my post on “lazy locavores” earlier this week. Riffing off of a New York Times “trend” piece, I questioned the practice of “outsourcing one’s veggie patch” — paying someone to install, tend, and harvest a home veggie garden. I accused folks who use such services of having a “hyper-consumerist” take on local food — of wanting the trappings and status of a home garden without getting their hands dirty.
Several people — including energy blogger extraordinaire Bart Anderson — cogently critiqued my position. “Is it not a good thing to support local organic gardeners? Is it not a good thing to encourage vegetable gardens?” Bart wrote. Another commenter chimed in:
The average lawn is a toxic waste dump, loaded with fertilizers, pesticides and is a massive consumer of water much less the amount of fuel needed to keep the mowers running. By turning those 1/4 acre dumps into productive farmland, everyone wins.
Okay, I agree. I was too hard on these armchair home gardeners. Now this, on the other hand, from a Wall Street Journal article called “The Vegetable Patch Goes Luxe“:
Some people are paying tens of thousands of dollars to have landscape architects design and install elaborate vegetable gardens. These homeowners regard their plots as edible showplaces, where they take guests on tours of manicured beds of baby bok choy and Japonica maize the way others show off their koi ponds and rose bushes.
Okay, edible landscaping is good, no objections! But …
… since many homeowners have these gardens installed at second homes they rarely visit, or are away from their garden for weeks while on vacation, the owners may not even be around to enjoy the bounty.