In Lawn Forage (work in progress), residents at a handful of homes in Loudoun County, a DC exurb, will volunteer to stop mowing their lawns for a three month period. When lawns are tall and forageable greens abound, neighborhood-wide dinner parties will be hosted in the streets in front of these homes. The meal will include lawn-foraged greens and locally-foraged entrees (venison, mushrooms, etc.). In Lawn Forage, an unkempt lawn (an ecological plus, but a cultural no no) becomes socially acceptable, and a reason to share a meal with neighbors when a street is transformed for dining. Lawn Forage draws attention to ecological and social potential within our suburban communities.
Lawn Forage is part of a suburban art initiative called Exurban ReThink, a series of art interventions to influence development patterns in one of America’s fastest growing suburbs – Loudoun County, an exurb of DC. This project utilizes art and information-sharing to help leaders/residents contemplate suburban reinvention, bridging academic research and on-the-ground implementation.
Suburbs, home to 69% of Americans, are the largest per capita greenhouse gas contributor. As one of America’s fastest growing suburbs, Loudoun suffers from car-dependency, resource-intensive construction, inequality, and ecological degradation. Yet there is opportunity for bold vision – a suburban built environment that powers itself, cleanses itself, transforms waste, provides wildlife habitat, produces food, deeply satisfies inhabitants, and fosters equality. Exurban Rethink includes three art interventions and a slideshow/discussion forum to reshape this DC exurb’s future development.
Timed to coincide with the revision of the County’s Comprehensive Plan that will influence its next 20 years, art and information sharing will help leaders/residents contemplate suburban reinvention. The project will bridge visionary academic research and local on-the-ground implementation. It is influenced by MIT’s Future of Suburbia Initiative that is inventing “land tenure models…to ensure that suburbs become the frontier of innovation…” and answer what “innovations and productive systems will be embedded within suburban development to allow for self-sufficiency… a net producer of food, water, and energy?”
Exurban ReThink Art Interventions
- Lawn Forage