"Food not Lawns"
Author : Heather Jo Flores
Originally published: Oct. 15 2006
Publisher : Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback : 344 pages
Did you know? Americans spend over $30 billion every year to maintain over 40 million acres of lawn. Yet over 40 million people live below the poverty level. Even if only ⅓ of every lawn was converted to a food-producing garden, we could eliminate hunger in this country.
Lawns use more equipment, labor, fuel, and agricultural chemicals than industrial farming, making lawns the largest (and most toxic) agricultural sector in the United States. Lawnmowers burn more fuel every year than all industrial oils spills of the last twenty years, combined. Growing Food Not Lawns is a beautiful, responsible and empowering step towards finding real solutions to the major problems we face as a global society.
Grow Food, Not Lawns!
When the original chapter of Food Not Lawns was started in 1999, Heather Jo vision was to share seeds and plants with their Eugene , Oregon neighborhood, to promote local awareness about food security, and to learn about permaculture, sustainability and organic gardening. Their project blossomed. They had received a Neighborhood Improvement Grant from the City of Eugene, and conducted a low-cost permaculture design course for the neighborhood. They proceeded to have transformed most of the neighborhood lawns into lush organic gardens and hosted annual seed swaps. Soon, they started to get mail from people around the country who were starting up local Food Not Lawns chapters of their own, and a movement had been born.
A self-described "avant-gardening collective” FNL's basic premise was to garner surplus resources, whether food, seeds, plants, tools, garden space, publications, or volunteer time, and channel them toward building better food security for the community at hand.In 2006, co-founder Heather Flores published Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community. The first half of the book is about gardening in the city, with no budget and on shared land. The second half is about working with people to build community around shared food and resources.
The book has sold over 25,000 copies, and now there are more than 50 affiliated Food Not Lawns groups in the United States, Canada, and the U.K.. The original Food Not Lawns collective just hosted its 16th annual seed swap, and the meme, “Food Not Lawns,” has taken root in the mainstream consciousness.
Heather Jo Flores director of Permaculture Women’s Guild, creator of the #freepermaculture project, Holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, with special focus on the intersection between ecofeminism, permaculture, and creative writing.She’s been self-employed as a writer, educator, and freelance creative for 25 years. She tends a 1/4 acre Mediterranean food forest in the mountains of Andalucia with her partner and two dogs.
We found this read to be a great introduction to grass-roots food activism. This may be a good read for school teachers or parents, but we wouldn't recommend it for more experienced gardeners and activists as there is nothing new here for you.We do not advocate or advise to take the advice in one section of the book on starting a garden on vacant land “with or without” the land owners permission nor the aspects of squatting, we’ll file this under do at your own risk.