Sunday, August 05, 2007


Innovation is a common thread for creative personalities. I'm not just talking artists, but scientists and some engineers, writers, and others who are constantly challenging the status quo.

For instance, I know an artist who used to plant wheat in his front yard as a decorative element. It was beautiful as it waved in the wind. Not so innovative you would say, a little quirky, but not really innovative. That was 10 years ago. Now it seems a little book called Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn, by Fritz Haeg is due out in 2008.

Edible landscaping is popping up all over it seems. Even in people's front yards if that is the sunniest, most veggie friendly spot.

For all out there listening, I just want to jump right in there and say, I've been on the leading edge of this trend for years. A visitor to my house last year remarked. "I can't believe you got those beautiful tomatoes out of that gravel pit."

Not coincidentally my husband, brought me a few red ones the other morning after walking the dogs. This is quite a coup, considering that he once spent hours in the heat extracting rocks out of a postage-size city garden for me. Not at my behest I might add, but because he wanted the garden to be perfect, unlike life. Unfortunately, while I've been on the leading edge of the "Let it grow in your yard too" movement, I've never been much of a tidy gardener. In fact this year's crop of tomatoes, is hanging precipitously off the edge of a cliff. It's great really, no need for those pesky stakes. My husband has never plowed that field again.

Since I have had my own household, (a long time) I have almost always grown something that was edible. In my mother earth years I did a lot of growing, and since I lived on a dairy farm there was plenty of natural fertilizer. You should have seen the asparagus! The first child was raised on all organic, home grown pureed food.

Why I do this is because I long for an attachment to the earth, the same reason I feed the birds and hummingbirds, and live in the country. I don't want to toil too much, and my fingernails aren't always filled with dirt, but I want to maintain that connection. Besides, there is nothing tastier than fresh produce. I know a chef that is into growing much of the produce he uses in his restaurant, and to this day, the crowds still flock to his doors.

So, sometimes innovation is nothing new, just something that has been around a long time with a fresh perspective. That in essence is the art of life. Take for instance this beautiful pottery by Allan Buitekant. It's simplicity is its innovation. Earthenware has been around almost from the beginning of man, and yet it can be as fresh as a ripe tomato.--Ruth Mitchell

"Faceted Cream & Sugar" - Allan Buitekant

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