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Beyond the Sterility of Curb Appeal — How to Value a Foodscape

The traditional approach to valuing a home’s lawn/landscape is something called “curb appeal.”  Essentially: “is it visually appealing from the curb to passersby?”

NOTE:  This approach, beyond being shallow, can also create distortions in the market place.  Here’s an example from the fruit and produce marketplace.  We buy fruit largely based on how it looks, not how it tastes or how long it lasts or how nutritious it is, while pushing a shopping basket past it in a supermarket aisle.   Naturally, visual appeal and the ability of the fruit/produce to maintain that appeal during the shipping process is almost 100% of what farmers are shooting for with their crops.

Of course, curb appeal is entirely based on largely subjective aesthetics.   Fortunately, as we move towards a home than can support a family’s American Dream, the criteria we use for evaluating a home’s land and exterior become more solid and tangible.

In fact, here’s some ideas for evaluating the efficacy of a lawn that has been turned into a foodscape.  A fully realized version of this scorecard would be a pretty amazing evaluation tool (note to self).

  • visual value to home.
  • Participatory value to homeowner (kids, Pick Your Own, diet needs, etc.)
  • Value of the produce grown in the foodscape (projected or actual)
  • Water use/management
  • External inputs — fertilizer, pesticide, etc.
  • Food quality
  • Projected value of foodscape production and maintenance requirements
  • Potential value for fractional farming (??)

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Discussion — 4 Responses

  • CD November 5, 2013 on 11:28 pm

    Would you consider an additional score re: yard capability of self-sustainment or self-maintenance?

    Or something that considers contingencies for an unplanned event/ total loss? I don’t have a good term handy. ‘Portability’, maybe? E.g- if family foodscapes a yard, but needs to relocate quickly (new job, hurricane or wildfire incoming, etc), how much of the systems, structures, materials could be salvaged, and re-planted/re-installed somewhere else?

    Reply
  • John Robb November 6, 2013 on 5:23 pm

    Yes. Like the “ease of mx” factor. Move in a hurry factor? I would like “an ability to mitigate or survive the effects of a natural disaster” better as a factor than portability.

    Reply
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