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Food Not Lawns in Mother Earth News

Heather Flores’s Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, was featured in an article on edible landscaping in Mother Earth News recently. Take a look below.

Edible Landscaping
By Betsy Model

“Imagine,” chef, cookbook author and local food activist Deborah Madison mused recently, “if our government asked us to respond to the crisis of global warming, diminishing oil and poor health … by planting vegetable gardens.”

Those who lived in the United States and Great Britain during World War II and experienced the food rationing of the 1940s can do more than imagine; they can remember. As part of the war effort, every civilian was encouraged to turn their land and lawns over — literally — to growing food for themselves and for the troops. The millions of yards, vacant lots and converted lawns and flower beds at community centers, school playgrounds and places of worship were called “victory gardens” and were, for many years, a primary source of the fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes that were difficult to produce during wartime due to reduced manpower and gasoline rationing.

Neighbors shared and swapped produce with neighbors, summer’s bounty was canned or “put by” for winter eating, and many Americans found themselves eating locally in a way not seen since their forefathers immigrated to this country.

If the idea of eating local food, and its related topics (concerns over food availability, affordability, and the high environmental and monetary costs of transporting food over great distances) sound familiar, it’s probably because these issues have been in the news for the last few years. For many MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers and a growing collection of authors, food activists and garden experts, fall is the time of year to begin turning over our lawns again, in search of economic, environmental and physical health. Community activist and author Heather Flores released her book Food Not Lawns: How To Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community a couple of years ago. It was a radical call for America’s urban dwellers to turn their manicured lawns and backyards into food-producing gardens to benefit not just the dweller but their community as a whole. If the idea seemed a bit revolutionary at the time the book debuted, it now appears to be resonating with Americans in a way not seen since WWII. Read the full article online at Mother Earth News. Heather Flores’s Food Not Lawns is available now!


“If we work hard, we sleep well.” Independent Farmstead Q&A (part 2)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More

The Miracle of Farming: Toward a Bio-Abundant Future

Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer’s Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin is a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, connected to national and international organizations addressing food security, heralded by celebrity chefs as well as the Slow Food movement, and featured in the inspiring César and COLCOA award-winning documentary film, Demain (Tomorrow).In this excerpt from their […] Read More

Sow Seeds: Stop Walking Around Doing Nothing

“In the last one hundred years, 94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the century in America and considered a part of the human commons have been lost.”That’s one of the key takeaways in award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. In her book, Ray […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More
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