On Letting Weeds Win

By Kristin Donnelly Posted June 12, 2007

Just went to Cleveland this weekend for the November installment of Food & Wine Across America. While walking around the town from restaurant to restaurant, I realized that I couldn’t stop looking at the ground. Some of the edible weeds I learned about last week with “Wildman” Steve Brill—including lamb’s quarters, wood sorrel and violet leaves—grew in every sidewalk crack, planter and plot that I could pick enough to make at least one salad per block. Plus, several mulberry trees were just starting to drop fruit, meaning the berries are hitting their peak of ripeness. For the upcoming August issue, I wrote a piece about Fritz Haeg, an artist who started replacing water-guzzling front lawns with beautiful, productive vegetable gardens. I love his idea and hope more people follow suit, but I can’t help feeling that even if I had my own yard, I would be too busy or lazy to maintain something so labor-intensive. Walking through Cleveland, I started thinking, What about a lawn full of nutritious edible weeds? It’s a win-win situation, really. The weeds get to take over your yard the way they always seem to do, and instead of fighting them, you eat them.

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