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The Ring - CCxA

Editorial Board Message

Throughout human history, the growth, harvest, preparation, and eating of food has been an intrinsically communal activity. It is an act of coming together, distributed labour, storytelling, shared abundance, fostering tradition, culture, and knowledge, of feeding both the body and the soul. This theme felt perfectly suited for the Fall issue—after all, autumn is the season of harvest and plenty before the winter months ahead. It is a season of gratitude and thanks for the abundance of Mother Earth.

As Melana Roberts mentions in the Round Table, our role as landscape architects in the larger food system can be that of co-designer and facilitator. Farming and food production are not specializations which most landscape architects are well versed in. It’s critical we partner with farmers, Indigenous communities and knowledge keepers, and community members with a history and culture of food production throughout the design process. This requires food and access to food be at the forefront of our design thinking. How can we increase the productivity of our landscapes? This shift in perception can then lead to the codification and protection of these landscapes with policies such as Hamilton’s urban agricultural zoning designation.

Everett DeJong interviews University of Guelph’s Mike Dixon on growing food in space—and while at first glance it might not appear to pertain to us landscape architects working here on Earth, there are parallels to food production in harsh conditions such as the far North, in periods of excessive drought, or areas with contaminated soils. As the effects of climate change are predicted to make many of our landscapes much less predictable and hospitable, there is much to glean from these technologies as we design for the future.

Because food production is such an inherently communal activity, fostering food production is also fostering community care. Not only is it a way to nourish and feed our physical bodies, but it is a key part of nourishing the health of our mental, emotional, social, and spiritual selves. As Millie Knapp reminds us, food is also medicine. It also puts us in direct relationship with Nature and our more-than-human kin, as we are, of course, not the only creatures which require food. Lorraine Johnson and Sheila Colla’s latest book, A Garden for the Rusty-Patch Bumblebee, provides valuable knowledge and resources on how we can design spaces which provide, among other things, food to our valuable and vulnerable native pollinators.

On behalf of the Editorial Board, we hope you are well nourished—both in food and in community.

Nadja Pausch, OALA, CSLA
Chair, Editorial Board
[email protected]