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Custom Foodscaping

Designer/Planner/Gardener • Matt Lebon

Age • 32

Family • Lebon shares his home with partner Deidre Kelly and two bunny rabbit pets, Naomi and Blossom

Home • Tower Grove South

What he does • Edible garden designer Matt Lebon develops workable plans for good-to-eat gardens that produce herbs, nuts, fruits and vegetables year after year. His motto is “Have your landscape and eat it, too.”

How to contact • Contact Lebon by email at customfoodscaping@gmail.com

How much • Prices determined by scope of services

Matt Lebon doesn’t design typical gardens. He believes his unique style reaches an untapped market of people eager for an edible, regenerative landscape. “When I see lots, lawns, schoolyards or pockets of land in the community, I see a food-producing landscape as opposed to formal gardens,” he says. “I want to help people reimagine where we’re growing our foods.”

Through his experiences as farm manager at EarthDance organic farm in Ferguson he joined a supportive community of people committed to the protecting the Earth. His thoughtful approach at Custom Foodscaping reflects his values.

“My mission is to connect people to magical food experiences,” Lebon says. “I want people to understand where food comes from and to interact with nature.”

Talkin’ bout regeneration • Lebon doesn’t base his food production on tender annuals. He focuses instead on hardy perennials to design regenerative landscapes that last much longer. “We put a lot of work, maintenance and effort into gardens that often don’t provide much in return,” Lebon says. “My designs allow people to plant once, then harvest food from their landscapes for decades by utilizing edible perennial plants, shrubs and trees.”

How does your garden grow? • Lebon’s wide-ranging plant choices veer from the familiar to the less well-known. Every selection reliably produces food year after year with a high resistance to pests and diseases. Familiar picks include rhubarb and horseradish, to the more obscure sorrell and bronze fennel. Sorrell, a tender, lemony green, makes a tasty addition to salads and fish dishes. Bronze fennel fronds work well with most fish dishes while seeds impart a distinct flavor to breads and cakes.

Healthy, too • Lebon combines native fruit and nut trees with berry bushes to bring new foods to the table that are often high in phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as tart persimmons and paw paws, a custardy fruit with notes of banana and mango. “I have many favorites, like the Carmine Jewel bush cherry,” he says. “They’re highly ornamental and produce a true tart cherry. I love Asian pears because they’re very vigorous, they taste delicious and store all winter.” Perennial herbs also come into the regenerative fold Lebon designs. “Chives, sage, thymes — they work for cooking, but a lot of herbs flower, which adds to the foodscape,” he says.

Getting started. Design now, plant later • In gardening circles, winter is the time to plan, so now is the time to schedule a meeting with Lebon. “I work from an office in my home and email is the best way to contact me,” he says. Each client’s needs differ widely, so Lebon works up bids for each project. He works with homeowners, schools, businesses, institutions and communities on projects large and small.

Coach and encourage • “Coaching is part of my business, too. A lot of vegetable gardeners who may not need a garden plan could use a garden coach,” he says. “I help people by providing support, answering questions and doing what’s needed to set up gardeners for success.”

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