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  • Jennifer Jewell


FOODSCAPING - with Brie Arthur. Photo courtesy of Brie Arthur, all rights reserved.


Just in time for spring and that itch we gardeners - new and long time - have to get the summer vegetables into the ground, Cultivating Place revisit a favorite conversation with grow-your-own revolutionary, Brie Arthur – author of the "Foodscape Revolution" and "Gardening with Grains". Her enthusiasm will get your season growing . ENJOY!

Horticulturist Brie Arthur wants us to plant more food – everywhere – from around the base of our foundation planting shrubs, to the far reaches of whatever our property might be. Brie joins us today from her home and foodscaped garden in North Carolina to share more, including her incredible enthusiasm.

Brie is all about the creed of the 4H – heart, head, hands and health and she puts it to work in her evangelizing for the idea of a foodscape revolution – in your landscape – no matter how scary your HOA might be.

"I would love for every child to have exposure to the joy of growing food at least one time – so they aren’t afraid, so they can become better stewards and appreciate where their food comes from and value what farmers provide, so they can look through the same rose tinted glasses that I wear when I see landscapes and all I see is potential, 'Oh my gosh, we could feed this whole neighborhood if we just planted something of meaning in some of this open lawn area.”

Brie Arthur, Horticulturist

Author of "The Foodscape Revolution" (St. Lynn's Press, 2017)

Brie Arthur’s first book, The Foodscape Revolution (St. Lynn's Press, 2017) has one mission – to get everyone seeing potential in their landscape for more food – for yourself, your family, the neighborhood kids and the neighborhood birds. Her second book, Gardening with Grains (St. Lynn's Press, 2019) takes the lessons further into the specifics of grains - barley, wheat, rice and more.

In our conversation, Brie discusses how she structured the book building off of concepts she first learned from the legendary Rosalind Creasy as well and the longtime principals of permaculture. These concept at the heart of The Foodscape Revolution might just alter how you see the landscapes of your house and Brie walks us through some ideas of which crops you might want to try for best success in the different zones around your home.

All of Brie's work - from books to in person speaking and workshops - shares garden advice about growing with ecological, economic and nutritional sensibilities. She’s a passionate leader in the foodscape movement - a model of community development that incorporates sustainable, local food production. She speaks on a variety of horticulture topics around the US, and has served as a correspondent on PBS's television show, hosted by Joe Lamp'l and featuring Chef Nathan Lyon and Theresa Loe - Growing A Greener World.

Follow along with Brie Arthur online at:, and on Instagram: @brietheplantlady

And join us again next week, when Cultivating Place speakswith AmyRose Foll - Founder of the Virginia Free Farm in Kents Store, Virginia. Amyrose is an army veteran and indigenous farmer, and her growing call is feed care for others through the nutrient-dense offerings of her farm, cared for in traditional methods of her people and her place. Join us!

The many ways people cultivate their places moves me every single day.




Ok – so I am going to riff off of Brie’s quote here: "I WOULD LOVE FOR EVERY CHILD to have this experience at least once…."

...this was a little nudging reminder from the universe about children – about the experiences they have by chance and the experiences we curate for them – and the straight up undiluted potential transformational power of these.

This has been an idea in my mind for some time – like years – maybe since I myself had my first baby girl more than 20 years ago now and then my second. The niggling understanding in the peripheral vision of my heart and mind how my girls' unstructured hours in the garden and outdoors with me were pure magic – pure education, information, inspiration and magic for them and for me.

This is nature and garden literacy – one of the primary branches of a well-rounded cultural literacy. And a foundational building block of a literate and intelligent - PLACE and NATURE-INTELLIGENT AND CARING - community of people.

Which brings me to grain...

Brie loves grains – toward the end of our conversation she recommends that we all try to grow some barley and some rice, her second book is entitled "Gardening with Grains

' and she is sometimes known as the #crazygrainlady. Somewhere toward the beginning of the conversation she used the word ingrained and I thought – what is the relationship between grain – the hard dry seeds of grass and other flour making plants such as wheat, rye, barley, rice, etc. and the grain – or texture - of wood, or meat .

In these senses, grain is apparently from the Latin granum to the Old French grain – and then there’s the concept of being ingrained - firmly fixed or established, difficult to change, and worked into the fiber of a thing – which comes from the Middle English meaning to dye with color fast dye such as cochineal – the change forever the color and fiber of a thing.

I think of the age old power of grains that form bread that form and connect cultures – corn, wheat, rice – the very mainstays of foodstuffs staving off hunger for large populations; I think of the grain of trees – the decades, centuries, and millennia sometimes written in these very grains – and I think of us. How do we set the grain of us – how do we feed, nourish, cultivate and ingrain ourselves and each other with a literacy and value system and compassion and generosity akin to the grain of nature’s garden around us?

And with what values and literacies do we want to ingrain the next generation?

Hmmmm….food for thought….




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