Sun, Sustainability, and Survival

What should you do this weekend?  If you live in the greater DC area, I’d recommend a visit to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in West Potomac Park. And, why, you are probably wondering, is this post being written on the Family Foodie Survival Guide?

Well, the way I see it, survival depends upon sunlight and energy, and I think that living sustainably is one way to contribute to our long-term survival. And showing our kids how to incorporate food production into daily living is critical (having kids think that ham comes from an animal called a ham is just not okay). The teams that created the net-zero homes are thinking the same thing. These homes set the bar high for thinking about ways that each of us can leave a small footprint on our planet.

And of course, survival depends upon food! And many, many of these homes incorporate food-producing gardens into their design.  So I thought that you all, dear readers, might enjoy seeing some of these creative ideas and consider whether you could incorporate them into your own home.  Each home has a name, and a theme…

Let’s start at the most local competitor, the University of Maryland. This team created WaterShed, where incredible trellises shade your porch in a vertical garden and produce grapes and blackberries, and you can step off your porch into a vegetable garden.

And there’s room on the porch right outside the kitchen for a compact composter.

Moving a bit north, the team from Middlebury College in Vermont, brings us Self-Reliance, with a greenhouse wall integrated into the kitchen.

and included plenty of storage for canned produce for long winters,

And a visit to Re_Home from Team Illinois, designed to be rapidly constructed after a natural disaster, walks you up to the entrance through planters filled with enticing edibles,

and says goodbye with towering cornstalks.

Even the Solar Roofpod intended for installation on top of skyscrapers in New York includes and plans for food-producing gardens on the rooftop.


So, take the quote below to heart, and if you have a few hours to spend to dream about the possible, head on down!  There are many more houses to see, and lots more to learn about besides the gardens!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: