I had a couple of hours to kill between a team off-site at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences and a lecture hosted there, so I decided to check out the Moss Room, their swanky new restaurant hidden around the corner, through the museum cafe and down a flight of stairs.
Those stairs… actually, it wasn’t so much the stairs, it was the wall alongside the stairs. A wall completely covered in all kinds of moss. But not just moss. In with the moss were lichens, ferns and even a few orchids. And at the base of the wall ran a make-shift stream encased in a stainless steel trough. i want that wall. But what, you may wonder, does this have to do with food gardening? Two things, actually.
First is the food. Nearly all of the dishes featured local, organic ingredients. My dinner of locally caught black cod with heirloom cherry tomatoes tasted amazingly fresh and tangy. Every bite was a testament to the taste and quality of foods that haven’t been engineered, sprayed, processed and shipped.
Second is the wall itself. Although this particular vertical garden supported mostly moss and orchids, the idea of a vertical garden is easily applied to other plants. This year’s flower & garden show in San Francisco featured a whole host of walls planted with edibles including one that used lettuce varieties to create a mosaic of colors and textures.
If you find yourself in San Francisco, check it out (that is, if you can find it). And while you’re there, have a look at the newly renovated academy itself, especially the living roof. It’s an inspiration.