Our traditional challenge has been to use native plants to rebuild eco-systems and food webs. For now, our immediate challenge is to help people with their "personal food webs" and being able to easily grow hebs, vegetables and flowers while we have limited social mobility. Healthy fresh-picked food with fewer trips to the grocery store is a good challenge for now.
Longer term, while most people spend 90% (now 99%!) of their time indoors, we are all dependent on the outdoor eco-sytem and food webs that we barely perceive. Our personal health and well-being is born out of that environment - the nature we support, the food we eat. Our living and working environments should be a continuum of indoor and out; and our health is built on both the food we eat and our sense of well-being. Our challenge is to integrate our inner and outer environments.
In his best-selling book “Bringing Nature Home”, Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware, states that there are nearly 50 million acres of urban and suburban lawns in the U.S. that are largely planted with non-native grasses and other plants which are expensive to maintain and though visually attractive, are silently destructive to our ecosystem.
"Lawns represent approximately 3% of the Amazon rain-forest, and represents one of the largest tracts of fragmented and disturbed land in the world."
Many bird populations are down 50% in the last 50 years mainly due to the destruction of local habitat and food webs. Birds eat worms and insects which cannot live on lawns and other non-native plants.
"The great challenge is how to re-introduce local eco-type native species of grasses, pollinators, flowers, shrubs and trees in order to re-capture a sizable piece of this acreage, and re-build local food webs."
Our challenge is to help people see the connection between indoor and outdoor environments...from nutrition, living/work spaces and the greater ecosystem. In addition to personal heath, we seek to enroll students and the community at large, in the restoration of our local ecosystems… at which we all stare every day.
"For many people, connection to the greater eco-system often starts with caring for a small indoor or garden plant."
- Peter Forbes, Founder