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  • Writer's pictureDawn Bly

Could Business Greenspace be more Sustainable?

Flowering sage, yarrow and timothy hay growing in ground between a sidewalk and street.
Flowering sage, yarrow and timothy hay flourishing by the street.

My car was long overdue for an oil change, so I made an appointment and zipped up to the dealership for the car's service. I HATE sitting around in the dealership's customer waiting area, so I had loaded the bicycle up onto the car rack and headed out for a nice bike ride in a new area. Just to see what I could see in the beautiful sunny weather!

There were no decent biking trails where I wound up....but I DID wind up circling about several warehouses in a business district which all seemed to drain into one depression area that could vaguely be called a "marsh." I spied a couple of mallards, a snowy egret and one grumpy-looking Canada goose lingering about.

I am sure that the security cameras were tracking this lone woman as she circled the parking lots, the marshy area and the numerous warehouses! As a note, our family was practicing edible landscaping long before it became fashionable, so we tend to look at green spaces when we are traveling about as potential garden plots.

I started to wonder if there was any corporate entity in the KC area that was embracing edible landscape/sustainable native plantings on their business greenspace areas, instead of the usual sparse corporate plantings and a large expanse of chemically-green, often-mowed lawn. I just kept thinking:

"A stand of elderberry would be perfect here!"

"Why a fence? Gooseberries would keep out the trespassers far more effectively! And the berries are yummy!"

"Raspberry and blackberry brambles would go well here."

"What an amazing area for a stand of milkweed for the Monarchs."

"Chickens and/or ducks in a poultry tractor [mobile chicken coop] would be delighted to take care of the bug removal, fertilization and aeration responsibilities!"

The birds, small animals and pollinators would certainly appreciate any and all of the above fruits, and the employees could be encouraged to forage for delicious delectables on their free time. People like me who really like to forage would be more than happy to trade maintenance for access to the freebies, maybe even show the employees who did not know what to do with the fruit, how to collect and process it.

Here is hoping that someday, it will be just as common to see behind a business's shipping/receiving area not only grass, but also a self-serve area for the employees containing useful things, such as:

1. An herb garden,

2. A cutting flower garden,

maybe even:

3. A pen of chickens or ducks.

Perhaps there may even be a place for the urban farmer of the future to be employed by local businesses to keep non-productive parts of business property as truly productive farmland (not just mown into a few moldering hay bales). If you know of any business today that does so, let me know. I would like to do a drive-by to get more ideas!

A girl can dream, anyway....

Until next time!

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