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Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community Paperback – October 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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Bookwatch/Midwest Book Review-
For activist readers who believe activism is a political pursuit, FOOD NOT LAWNS: HOW TO TURN YOUR YARD INTO A GARDEN AND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD INTO A COMMUNITY 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 political activism at the community level, providing keys to change any reader can use.
Certified permaculture designer Flores advocates living an ecologically friendly lifestyle by creating gardens. Following a foreword by Toby Hemenway (Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture), she discusses the identification of garden sites, the water cycle and water conservation, soils and composting, plants, how to save seed, project design, the fostering of community involvement, the inclusion of children in projects, the sharing of information, and activism. Many of Flores's ideas are for the extremely committed. She advocates dumpster digging, composting human feces, and living life without appliances like refrigerators. She also suggests growing food on land, not necessarily with the landowner's permission, and espouses gray-water conservation techniques that may be illegal in some communities. While growing your own food is a worthy goal, Flores doesn't always seem to recognize the hard work involved. She also doesn't expand on all of her ideas, but she does offer an extensive list of resources for further research. Flores has an engaging style and is clearly passionate about her subject, and her debut book provides an alternative viewpoint, but it will probably not interest mainstream audiences. Purchase as required.
"More than just another gardening book, Food Not Lawns provides a road map for ecological and social literacy in our own backyards and neighborhoods. A quiet revolution is taking place across the country centered on small plots in urban and suburban areas where food is being produced, jobs grown, and real community developed. This timely book serves as an important guide, providing a source of both information and inspiration for one of the most hopeful and exciting movements of our time."--Michael Ableman, author of Fields Of Plenty
"Food Not Lawns is radical (rooted), subversive (underground), and seeded throughout with treasures that will sprout into savory, beautiful flowers. Don't just buy this book: Read it. Don't just read this book: Do it. Grow a garden. And let the weeds grow; they're good medicine."--Susun Weed, Wise Woman Herbal Series
"Food Not Lawns is a wonderful book expanding on the idea that we can do more than just protest but that we have the power to create the world we want. Food Not Lawns is a practical guide to feeding ourselves and making positive change. In a time of so much hopelessness this book reminds us that there really is so much we can do. I encourage everyone seeking peace and well being to dig into this rich loam of information. It will inspire you to grow food not lawns."--Keith McHenry, Co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement
More About the Author
Connect with Heather and the Food Not Lawns movement at www.foodnotlawns.com
Top Customer Reviews
As an avid, beginning gardener, I understand the appeal, but I feel like the connection between world peace and gardening wasn't adequately argued in the book. Having scrounged myself a piece of a neighbor's yard, I expected that this would be a good book to get me started on a practical bent. However, I found that the idealism often prevented extensive practical advice which is necessary for the beginner. Perhaps advanced gardeners can "make space for all plant species" and can't recommend one species above another, but there was limited - almost non-existent - acknowledgment that some species are easier to grow than others, and some are more useful in terms of food production, especially if space is extremely limited. For a first "food" garden, would I be better off growing potatoes? Tomatoes? Spinach?
I found the transition from garden-related activism to community activism quite rocky. I wish the sections on seed-saving and connecting with neighbors were expanded. On a personal level, I found many of the asides (which I will paraphrase as "well, *of course* all right-minded people agree that ____________") were off-putting, as hard-core radical leftists are not the only ones who are interested in producing clean, local food and making communities. I was also troubled by the exhortations to get rid of appliances, go vegetarian, and dumpster scavenge to save the environment, while at the same time suggesting extensive driving (to farms, to dumpsters, around town, between bakeries).
All that aside, Food Not Lawns is an interesting read.Read more ›
Flores is a proponent of permaculture, a sustainable way of landscaping inspired by natural eco-systems. Her book presents a nine-step plan to transform the typical wasteland of turf into a productive, environmentally friendly "paradise garden" bursting with edible bounty. "The average American lawn," according to Flores, "could produce several hundred pounds of food a year."
Food Not Lawns began as an offshoot of the grassroots group Food Not Bombs, a non-profit with chapters all over the country that provides free vegetarian meals to the hungry using donated ingredients that would otherwise end up in a dumpster.
Flores' experience cooking and serving meals with Food Not Bombs gave her a new ambition; instead of simply providing food to others, she wanted to teach people how to provide for themselves. She describes Food Not Lawns as a "grassroots gardening project geared toward using waste resources to grow organic gardens and encouraging others to share their space, surplus, and ideas toward the betterment of the whole community."
The more Flores learned about food, agriculture, and land use, she says, the more she came to see the typical suburban lawn as a symbol of "gross waste and mindless affluence."
Flores reveals that there's nothing green about our love of lawns, which gobble up more resources and create more pollution than industrial farming. Her book explains how the weaknesses of our industrial food chain, and the unsustainable terrain of turf that surrounds suburbia have inspired a grassroots movement to grow not grass, but food.
Food Not Lawns is the perfect introduction to the permaculture revolution.Read more ›
A big Mahalo to Heather!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this book used on Amazon after reading about it in a current issue of Mother Earth News. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
Seriously. Get this book. Read it and do it. No excuses. You won't regret turning you wasted yard into a food producing gardenPublished 5 months ago by sarah
I was so disappointed in this book. I was expecting a practical guide to converting my lawn to a garden. What I got was a dense political manifesto. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kelly
Good book with the grocery store approach. Take from it what you need.Published 8 months ago by Bradley K Joplin
I LOVE this book! I absolutely devoured it! The author writes so well and is absolutely captivating. What an inspiring book and woman. Read morePublished 10 months ago by lucy mesa
The bible for urban/suburban permaculture direct action activism. Just reading it with fill your spirit with inspiration and positivity and give you good simPublished 10 months ago by Andra Hicks
love love lovvve this book!!! Recommended to everyone-- Seriously, you need it:)
I got this book almost 10 yrs ago and I still use it as a reference regularly! So good:)
I found Food Not Lawns to be inpiring, fun to read, and full of great ideas. I highly reccomend to anyone living in an urban area interested in gardening, sustainability,... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Agonized Glee
Love this book. I've already started incorporating a lot of the ideas. Actually many years ago I grew veggies in my front yard instead of a lawn much to the disgust of the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by P. Guerrero