Creating Edible Living Laboratories: A Guide to Inspire and Educate Through Ecological Gardens

A living laboratory serves as a vital tool for edible ecological education, offering insights into good food-plant design, diverse landscape management, and region-specific plant choices. Beyond showcasing these aspects, it opens doors to unique educational opportunities tailored to its installation site.


What Is an Edible Living Laboratory?

Planting the rainbow: Garden-based education in the

Edible living laboratories are essentially well-structured plantings featuring a variety of edible plants grouped into guilds, all with a strong focus on educational content. These gardens can feature native edible plants or orchard-style varieties like pears. Their design follows an ecosystem approach, incorporating multiple plant layers, from herbs to bushes to trees. Integration into the surrounding landscape is key, ensuring ease of maintenance, including mowing and other landscaping tasks.

The educational content can cover essential ‘Why?’ questions, such as "Why is edible biodiversity important?" and ‘What?’ questions like "What is an edible ecosystem?" However, the highlight should be interactive information like "How to plant your own edible landscape!" These gardens often include specialized designs aligning with the goals of the stewardship group responsible for maintenance. Examples range from "Management of Diversity on Campus for Climate Change Mitigation" to "Native Prairie Restoration for Pollinator Habitat and Medicinal Tea Plants."

In essence, the overarching goal of the Edible Living Laboratories is to inspire communities to embrace more landscape planting by showcasing successful plant choices tailored to their region.

Who Should Incorporate These in Their Landscaping?

These landscapes find suitability in a wide range of sites and offer numerous benefits to different groups or stewards. Consider businesses aiming to create an attractive entrance while adhering to ethical land management practices. Schools can utilize these spaces to provide unique educational experiences and develop custom outdoor education curricula. Government buildings seeking climate-friendly landscaping solutions and homes looking for low-maintenance, high-yielding landscapes can also benefit significantly from Edible Living Laboratories.

Key Ingredients for a Remarkable Edible Living Laboratory

Living Lab for Biodiversity - Sustainability

While specific designs may vary, the fundamental ingredients for a great living laboratory are as follows:

  • A piece of land, with dimensions starting at 5 feet by 5 feet or larger, such as linear areas (e.g., 15 feet by 75 feet) or full plots (e.g., 50 feet by 100 feet).

  • Proper soil improvement, involving raising the land to enhance soil structure within a raised bed (approximately 6 to 12 inches). This includes soil loosening, compost addition, and the incorporation of micronutrients.

By creating an Edible Living Laboratory, you can simultaneously inspire and educate, fostering a deeper appreciation for ecological sustainability and the benefits of edible landscapes. These living laboratories serve as living testaments to the power of sustainable design and ecological education in our landscapes.

Remember, "Build An Edible Living Laboratory To Inspire & Educate" – it’s not just a garden; it’s an educational journey and a step towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Topics of Interest for Further Delve

Do Living Labs contribute to innovation?

In the quest for innovation and maintaining a competitive edge, the role of living labs cannot be underestimated. This article delves into the realm of living labs, unraveling their significance in fostering innovation, with a particular emphasis on their impact in the agricultural sector. So, what exactly are living labs?

How can a living lab be sustainable?

To establish sustainability within a living lab, the existing approach, which engages children and their families, must endure over an extended duration. This extended timeframe is essential for effecting a lasting shift from passive to active attitudes among residents.

What is a living lab?

The Living Lab approach stands out as a highly renowned and effective method for cultivating innovations. Setting up a Living Lab involves a multifaceted consideration of factors encompassing organization, operations, resource allocation, business models, involvement of users/citizens, openness, and the value it brings.

Will the Living Lab re-establish a kitchen garden in Linderud farm?

In a fusion of nature and garden heritage, the Living Lab Oslo has proactive plans to restore the kitchen garden within the historical Linderud farm. Funding for this endeavor may be sought from the district and the Norwegian Museum Association.

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