This is another one of those wonderful books that will get tattered and worn because it is so oft referenced. Food Not Lawns, by Heather C. Flores appeals to food and community activist that is sometimes buried underneath the suited business exterior that I don more days than I would like.
Her approach is very accessible and not aggressive, the writing style is friendly and inspiring, and the hand-spun illustrations are not only descriptive, but fun.
As I read through this book, I started applying sticky notes to areas I want to not only reference for myself, but share with my fiancee who is starting to become somewhat obsessed with our compost experiment in the back yard. There are like 50 sticky notes already . . .
We are in the middle of planning our first serious vegetable garden for this house we’ve been in for five years. I’ve done them in the past on other properties, but this is our first together at this particular home. We’ve been having this debate about where to put it – I am all for basically taking up the back yard where the best sun and access can be found, but he is convinced we should put it behind the garage. Can’t wait to turn him on to this book as I’m quite convinced this will inspire him to consider my idea (sometimes these things work best if someone else suggests it).
Flores offers extremely practical resources and simple suggestions like answers to the excuse, “What if I don’t have a lawn?” She happily offers 8 ways to get involved in community garden without using your own back yard, including using a neighbor’s yard, renting a plot in the community garden, using roof space, containers or even de-paving sidewalks or driveways.
She unleashes some frightening statistics on us up front – here’s one that hits home (pun intended):
“Lawns use ten times as many chemicals per acre as industrial farmland.”
That got my attention. Of course, I haven’t put a chemical on my lawn . . . maybe never, and I’m damn proud of my clean if not perfect weedy grass. Flores offers a lot of solid information to back up her thesis that food is truly better than lawns.