Ehsan Din - Population inflammation and decreased cultivable land for food production and climatic changes in recent decades have become a critical problem for each country in the world including Pakistan.

Edible landscaping in Pakistan can be introduced as an innovative concept of combing various principles of landscape design with existing technologies for small scale food production. It considers the aesthetics and functionality of space in relation to the production of safe and readily available food and vegetables for the family and community.

It focuses on food availability at household level. It is also intended to increase interest in the utilisation of endemic edible plants and greening of urban space to alleviate environmental problems.

Edible landscaping is the use of food producing plants in the residential landscape. It combines fruit and nut trees, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and other ornamental plants into aesthetically pleasing design.

Poor and depressed communities in urban areas are the most vulnerable to problem of food availability. Within these zones, no tillable land is readily available and food commonly comes from external sources. These increasing concerns about food availability provide good reason for the government and the public to search for the solutions needed to produce save and readily available food.

One possible solution is the use of technologies developed for food production under prevailing conditions and applicable to household level for food production. If most of householders will utilize the open space with in their properties, theycould benefit by having their own fresh food even at the smallest scale possible. Such production systems and technologies can be adopted and practiced with increasing enthuism when the basic tenets of landscape design become the guiding principles. For developing successful edible landscaping, house owner should be consider the following criteria.

First, the crop should suite the householder’s or grower’s personal preference and be consumed by him or his family at high rates. Secondly, it should possess attractive features to add aesthetic value and interest to the garden. Different crops are used for different purposes i.e lettuce as ground cover, onion as edging. Cabbage as edging and ground cover, bottle gourd as shade, cucumber as screen, pepper, tomato, guava and pineapple as specimen, ginger as barrier, potato as ground cover, ber, loquat, jamun as shade. The third consideration is the climate requirement of the crop:  to maximize the benefits from the edible garden it should thrive in the given environment. Lastly, choose a crop that is indigenous to the area.

Edible landscaping also encourages the use of insect repellent plants that can ward off harmful insects. This practice lessens the maintenance operations required in the garden as it reduces the incidence of insect’s related damage. Some plantsi.e. onion, garlic, marigold and lemon grass are used as insects repellent. To obtain good quality and high yield produce from established edible garden; fertilizer, irrigation, pest control and weeding are main concerns in any type of large or small edible landscaping.

Edible landscaping is more suited to small spaces then traditional crop production practices and makes these more aesthetically appealing. It is applicable in urban areas, where there is a high demand for safe and nutritious food.  Edible landscaping has a number of advantages:

Edible landscaping provides safe and readily available food products at a household level. In Pakistan, most of the people especially children are underweight with iron deficiency, anemia and lower vitamin A level. This can be attributed to the low rates of consumption of vegetables and fruits. If every household will practice small scale edible landscaping, it may increase consumption of vegetables and foods to make better health.     

Edible landscaping helps to reduce environmental problems through the greening of open space. With edible landscaping environment can be safe and more wholesome because of presence of vegetation. Edible landscaping also helps in decreasing pollution and has soothing effect on climate.

Edible landscaping promotes the use of endemic plants and increase biodiversity. Edible landscaping can be an additional source of income. Edible landscaping can reduces expenditure on fruits and vegetables, such expenditure accounts for 20-70% of spending on all foods consume at home.

  Edible landscaping in the Pakistan is promoted through the training of teachers, students, organized group of women, soldiers, government officials, businessmen and hobbyists. Interviews have also been conducted on national television and local radio stations for faster dissemination of information. Edible landscaping can be presented at various exhibitions and conferences and a number of demo-garden have been constructed in strategic location so that public can experience and enjoy them.

In Pakistan, food availability is one of the major challenges brought about by rapid population growth and urbanization. One possible mean of addressing this challenges is though the adaptation of edible landscaping. Edible landscaping is an innovative concept of incorporating various principles of landscape design with existing technologies for small scale food production. Edible landscaping utilizes vegetables, herbs, and fruits crop as major materials to substitute for the ornamental plants commonly used in conventional landscaping. It consider the aesthetic and functionality of space in relation to the production of safe and readily available food products for the family and community. Promotion of edible landscaping in the Pakistan aims to increase the awareness and interest of people in the gardening or farming the other goal of edible landscaping to engage more Pakistanis in growing their own vegetables and fruits and thus to increase vegetable consumption.