December 7, 2021 by LAM staff
On a sunny September morning, a black box truck drove into a suburban California neighborhood playing a catchy tinkle of insect sounds. The truck stopped and, within minutes, transformed into a leafy nursery: the rear door rolled up and its sides folded back, revealing a pop-up shop teeming with native ferns and herbaceous plants, young trees and young shoots. With the addition of decayed granite, yellow lounge chairs, and recycled crates, a streetside neighborhood center emerged. During the day, the quiet residential street came alive with dog walkers, cyclists and neighbors interested in buying plants and learning about native vegetation.
The idea for the nursery originated in 2019 as an inexpensive and flexible alternative to traditional retail spaces. Miridae, a landscape architecture and construction firm based in Sacramento, Calif., Bought a product truck covered in graffiti and slowly began converting it into a plant store on wheels. Then came COVID-19. “We saw this huge and urgent need for community and ultra-localized purchases, so we accelerated the project,” says Billy Krimmel, founder of Miridae. In six weeks, the team transformed the truck into a collapsible nursery equipped with foggers, irrigation, solar panels and rows of shelves to showcase an inventory of native plants from local wholesalers.
Krimmel says that since launching in spring 2020, mobile nursery Miridae has hosted some 70 events in the region, selling more than 2,600 plants (their bestseller list includes Salvia apiana, Bouteloua gracilis, and Elymus condensatus). Miridae employs professional environmentalists and landscape architecture students at the University of California, Davis, to outfit the truck and provide customers with localized gardening advice. “Our goal is to promote neighborhood-wide habitat restoration by bringing people together through plants and gardening,” says Kate Hayes, ASLA, Design Director of Miridae. “The mobile nursery offers communities the opportunity to introduce native systems to urban areas where there is usually not much biodiversity.
According to Krimmel, the mobile nursery is about accessibility to strengthen support for indigenous habitat in neighborhoods and create community through it. Profits from the nursery help fund the work of Miridae Living Labs, the nonprofit arm of the company focused on native plant and arthropod research. “Ultimately, we aim to design experiments in all of our projects,” said Hayes, “and take the data from those experiments and feed them back into our design and build work so that we learn and adjust as they arise. continuation of our design process with results. “
Emily Schlickman is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Environmental Design at the University of California, Davis.
Posted in ECOLOGY, EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT, GARDENS, PLANTS, PRACTICE, STUDENTS, BACK, WILDLIFE | Tagged biodiversity, California, Davis, Emily Schlickman, Miridae, Miridae Living Labs, Miridae Mobile Nursery, native plantations, NURSERY, plant, retail, truck, University of California | leave a comment