American author Michael Pollan provocatively suggested that agriculture could be looked at a brilliant, if unconscious, evolutionary strategy on the part of the plants and animals involved to get people to advance their interests. And if the landscape is the board on which the competitive game of long-term species survival is played, it’s people who are positioned to most strongly influence the landscape and therefore the relative success of the players on the board. For millennia, people have put their thumb on the evolutionary scales to benefit the plants and animals on which they depend. We still do, and our thumb has gotten heavier as technology has advanced.
Black Squirrel Farms believes that a stronger, mutually beneficial partnership between people and black walnuts as a food source used to exist and we are building our business around the idea that this partnership can be rebuilt. However, if we are going to rethink the role of black walnuts in our landscape, it makes sense to consider whether there are other under-utilized native plants with deep untapped potential to support human needs.
All of the native or naturalized plants in this garden were selected because we believe that each has an under-appreciated talent or a compelling story to tell. This garden was created to trigger ideas and inspire action and is intended as a place to start, not a place to settle. While we have done our best to share information that is accurate, current and interesting, everyone makes mistakes sometimes and it is not our intent to provide authoritative guidance on which to base to personal health or financial decisions. We hope that everyone who visits leaves with at least one new idea.
And for those who want to try eating our weeds? Tell your tour guide. They probably have scissors available.