Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: Durand Edible Landscape Program
Overview: In Durand, Michigan, fresh produce is easily accessible to anyone in the community through 12 edible landscapes planted with 80 different varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Location: Durand, Michigan
Food policy category: Sustainable agriculture, nutrition, food security
Program goals: To increase access to fresh produce and encourage community members to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
How it works: Edible landscapes use fruit and vegetable plants as part of the landscaping design, both for aesthetics and for consumption.
Durand’s Edible Landscape Program is a division of the Durand Beautification Project, led by the Downtown Development Authority, the Durand Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Durand. In May of 2021, volunteers planted and tended to more than 80 different fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, kale, watermelon, strawberries, and pumpkins, in downtown Durand. The Edible Landscape Program is an effort to beautify the area and increase walkability while also encouraging community members to eat more fruits and vegetables. The produce grown in the edible landscapes is available to anybody who wants it, at no cost.
Funding for the edible landscapes came from community leaders and the City of Durand, and the city has recently agreed to spend up to $500 per year to support the project.
Progress to date: The Durand Beautification Project came together in March 2021, and the Edible Landscape Program was identified as one of three components of the process. Planting began in May, and by August most of the produce was ready to harvest.
Why it is important: Edible landscaping improves food security and nutrition by allowing anybody in the community to access fresh fruits and vegetables free of charge. Particularly in rural or low-income neighborhoods, where supermarkets may not be plentiful and good quality fruits and vegetables may be hard to find or afford, this is a sustainable solution to food insecurity and poor nutrition.
In addition, community members who see the edible landscapes may also be encouraged to try fruits and vegetables they have not eaten or cooked with before, which could improve the quality of their diets.
Program/Policy initiated: Planting began in May of 2021.
Point of contact:
Candyce Wolsfeld, Executive Director, Durand Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (989) 288-3715
Similar practices: Other organizations creating edible landscapes include:
- Backyard Abundance in Iowa City, Iowa
- Ecologia in Frederick, Maryland
- Edible Estates (worldwide)
- Home Harvest in Boston, Massachusetts
- Philadelphia Orchard Project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Pueblo Food Project in Pueblo, Colorado
Evaluation: Mike Nazarian, one of the program’s leaders, has estimated that Durand’s edible landscape will produce more than 300 pounds of produce this year. The city has acknowledged the success of the program by agreeing to continue funding it in the future.
- Are ‘Edible Landscapes’ the Future of Public Parks? (Smithsonian Magazine)
- The Case For Edible Public Spaces in Cities (Modern Farmer)
- Creating an Edible Landscape: Policy & Ordinances, Best Practices, Sustainability, Budget, and Plant Data (University of Minnesota)
- 15 Organizations Creating Edible Landscapes (FoodTank)
- Durand’s Downtown Planters Growing Edible Produce This Summer (ABC12 News)
- Free Food and Healthy, Too: Small Town Grows Its Own Veggies (ABC12 News)
- The Importance of Edible Landscape in the Cities (Turkish Journal of Agriculture – Food Science and Technology)
- Mid-Michigan City Introduces Edible Landscape in Downtown (CBS5 WNEM)
- New Edible Landscape in Downtown Durand Grows Fruit and Vegetables For All to Eat (MLive)
- Successful Edible Landscape Project In Durand Prompts Plans To Do It Bigger Next Year (DurandNow)