[permaculture] lawn

Martin Naylor martinwnaylor at yahoo.com.au
Sat Jun 2 18:36:08 EDT 2007

J Kolenovsky <garden at hal-pc.org> wrote:     I am really enjoying all the responses to this topic. And, I might add,
well, o-k I will, that I've and I'm sure others have gotten some killer
ideas from these responses. If there is anyone else out there that has
some grubstake on this topic, let us hear from you.
J. Kolenovsky, habitat environmentalist www.celestialhabitats.com
Energy shortages proves its right. Peak Oil is changing your lifestyle.
www.energybulletin.net www.peak-oil-news.info/ www.theoildrum.com/
  *Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden & Your 
into a Community
* by Heather Colburn Flores
2006, $25, 330pp.
US Canada Elsewhere
$27.50 $28.75 $31.00
  FOOD NOT LAWNS! Can you dig it!?!?
By Tobias Policha
>From the Winter 2000 issue of Green Anarchy

The vast expanse of forever-green American lawn is not only the most 
resource intensive agricultural crop in the world, but also an obscene 
icon to our arrogant privilege and total alienation from a life in 
harmony with nature.

For those of us living in the cities, surrounded by cars and concrete 
where we can't even see the stars, it is not difficult to see the ways 
we are disconnected from nature, and the cycles out of which we receive 
the elements essential to life. This has enormous implications in how 
we interact both biologically and socially. Agri-culture, taken at the 
root to mean "culture of the soil," out of which all life springs, is 
related to all aspects of our cultural life. For example, today most of 
our foods come to us via established cultural institutions governed by a 
handfull of agro-chemical/ pharmaceutical/"life-sciences" corporations. 
Our entire industrial civilization is needed to provide for our basic 
needs. Besides global inequity and agricultural chemical dependence, 
some elements of this culture include the erosion and lose of our top 
soil. at the rate of 38 tonnes per acre per year and the pollution and 
salinification of whole watersheds by fertilizers and industrial wast
 e, leading to the desertification of once fertile land and mass 
species extinction. This is also facilitated by the 2,500,000 tonnes of 
pesticides used every year. We are losing diversity both in nature and in 
our agricultural systems, as represented by a 75% decrease in crop 
diversity in the last hundred years. Besides the "costs" of production, there 
are a myriad of social implications related to how our sustenance 
reaches our tables, these include: colonialism, war, and the use of food as 
a weapon through artificially created famines, embargoes, etc. One 
could go on.

In an age when genetically-engineered entrees are served to diplomats 
and heads-of-state at the White House, can we expect this dominant 
culture, with it's apparent goal of destroying the biosphere, to provide us 
with the nourishment that we need to over-come and transcend that very 
same system? A system wherein the same interests that profit from 
selling us the chemicals and transgenic seeds which lead to death and 
disease, are the very same interests that profit by selling us the drugs that 
compound the physical and spiritual degeneration caused by our food. 
All this under the facade of feeding the world and bringing us health.

Something I once heard Ramona Africa say rings true. "A system so 
diabolical that it poisons the very food that we need to eat, the very water 
that we need to drink and the very air that we need to breathe, needs 
to be resisted!"

A permanent agriculture, a culture based on the care of and respect for 
the biosphere, is the only counter-balance to the industrial prison in 
which our world is trapped. We need to regain control of our food and 
our lives to free ourselves from the death culture. To relearn and 
develop a supply of food, fiber and medicine that is sustainable and 
inherently non-violent is the only way we will develop autonomous communities 
that can serve as a base for our resistance.

All of what I have touched on is of particular relevance to those of us 
living in cities. As areas that produce very little or none of what 
they consume and that do not take responsibility for their waste (unused, 
potential resources i.e.. compost, greywater etc.), cities are 
significantly vulnerable to the whims of economic (and military) interests. 
Almost by default, we are also fully dependent on the exploitation of land 
somewhere else, by not returning our "waste" to this land we also 
create huge amounts of trash which becomes pollution somewhere else. Our 
garbage often travels hundreds of fossil fuel-driven miles to the 

This doesn't have to be the case. Cities grew up around the places that 
were prime farmland with fertile soil and good access to fresh water. 
Today, 2,000 acres of farm land is being paved over daily, as our 
disposable suburban culture devours the countryside. But the point is that 
under all the asphalt and under all the trash is what were some of the 
most productive and biologically rich soils in the world. With cautions 
observed and actions taken to deal with potential toxins in the soil, 
there is no reason that we cannot or should not return the life, 
fertility, beauty and productivity to these urban areas.

I present here a vision of people breaking free of the dying system and 
using the land close at hand to generate potentially all of their food, 
medicine, fiber and fuel needs and to introduce beauty in the place of 
urban decay and suburban sprawl. Gradually we could see the emergence 
of self-reliant, cooperative communities providing the nourishment, both 
physical and spiritual, that we need to take up and manifest our 
visions of a better world. As this happens in more and more places, the land 
formerly exploited and pilaged by chemicals and mono-cultures, 
over-grazing and resource extraction can be freed and re-enlivened as native 
plant and wildlife refuges.

Either we take responsibility for living in an ecologically sustainable 
way or we and the earth will certainly perish. The choice is ours. The 
techniques are not difficult and can be learned from books, 
experimentation and the people around you. Seeds will grow. We just need to plant 
them. We need FOOD NOT LAWNS! Dig It!


For activist readers who believe activism is a political pursuit, [this 
book] offers a different viewpoint, maintaining that growing food where 
you live is a key method of becoming a food activist in the community. 
Chapters advocate planting home and community gardens with an eye to 
drawing important connections between the politics of a home or 
community garden and the wider politics of usage, consumption, and 
sustainability. Another rarity: chapters promote small, easy changes in 
lifestyles to achieve a transition between personal choice and 
activism at the community level, providing keys to change any reader 
use. - Diane C. Donovan, California Bookwatch

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