The Piedmont Garden Club will present a lecture and luncheon on “Growing Beautiful Food” with noted gardener, photographer and author of the book of the same name, Matthew Benson on Tuesday, October 8 at 11 a.m. at the Middleburg Community Center.

With so much attention turning to eating locally and organically, “Growing Beautiful Food” is intended to inspire and inform. Whether gardener, farmer, or chef, you’ll come to the table motivated by the flavor of homegrown, the message of self-sufficiency, and the beautiful food that’s as local as the backyard.

The book and lecture will chronicle growing food and living sustainably as a transformative experience, with all the joy, folly, work and wonder of it told through words and photographs.

With his organic Stonegate Farm as a backdrop, Matthew Benson’s lecture will offer insight into the history and practice of farming as an art form, as both ornament and nourishment, as well as an examination of the broken politics of our current food system.

“Growing Beautiful Food” shows that almost anyone can take their preened, green patch of grass or garden and turn it into a vibrant, local foodshed. By exploring the idea of integrating edibles into the flower garden, and transitioning aesthetic gardeners into food growers, the suburban lot becomes a hallmark of the paradigm shift towards a more local, sustainable lifestyle.  At the heart and soul of “Growing Beautiful Food” are seasonal observations on the rhythms of small farm life, from madly swarming bees and wayward chickens to harvesting miraculous floral salads or making quince preserves. These observations are integrated into a field guide for backyard food growers, with detailed growing advice for growing extraordinary crops, ranging from salad greens, fruiting vegetables, tree fruit and berries to cut flowers, bees, and chickens.

Matthew Benson is a photographer, writer, and organic farmer. His work is widely published and he writes, photographs, and lectures frequently on issues of food, sustainability and organics.

He is also the author of “The Photo-Graphic Garden: Mastering the Art of Digital Garden Photography” in addition to “Growing Beautiful Food.” He lives on an 1850s Carpenter Gothic estate farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley, where he cultivates organic vegetables, fruit, raw honey and bio-restorative flowers and herbs.

To reserve your tickets, priced at $55 (before October 1) send to: Piedmont Garden Club, PO Box 275, The Plains, VA 20198 or contact: Margaret Littleton,  540-687-6246 or

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