Libraries are cornerstones of our society. With an average of 10 visits to the library per year, people are twice as likely to visit a library than go to the movies. Libraries offer opportunities to everyone who goes there, with free internet, computers, books, and resources to prepare for jobs or find the right kind of health insurance.
That’s why we’re so excited to be installing edible and native landscaping known as Productive Urban Landscapes at six libraries in DeKalb County, thanks to the support of Commissioners Ted Terry and Mereda Davis Johnson. We broke ground at Stonecrest Library on Earth Day with Commissioner Johnson, and will be installing PULs at all five libraries in her district. The following day, we broke ground at Clarkston Library with Commissioner Terry. We’ve also broken ground at Hairston Crossing Library, Salem-Panola Library, Redan Trotti Library, and Lithonia Library.
So far, we’ve planted a lot of fruit trees, including pomegranate, fig, pineapple guava, and Asian pears, as well as blueberry bushes and blackberries. We’ve also planted native grasses and annuals; wildflower meadows, perennial flowers like echinacea, and a handful of tomatoes and peppers.
Along the way, we’ve met some great people at the DeKalb County facilities teams and the vendors who help manage landscapes across the county. We’re looking forward to working with them and offering training so they can not only manage these landscapes, but install more throughout the county.
Throughout the summer, we’ll be hosting events to engage people with these spaces, and find out what else they might want to see planted not only at the library, but across the community. These library projects are just the beginning, and we are exploring more ways to plant at senior centers and schools as well.
Across DeKalb County, we’ve been looking for land to transform into Productive Urban Landscapes full of edible and native plants. Oftentimes, the grass we typically see covering our communities takes a lot of effort to maintain and a considerable cost. But what do people gain? Almost nothing.
Productive Urban Landscapes are full of fruit trees, bushes, and herbs that provide food, shade, and beauty to our neighborhoods. By focusing on improving the soil, PUL’s also help with watershed management issues, as well as control soil erosion. Maintaining these landscapes will create green jobs that nourish our communities.