Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

We told you so: Food, Not Lawns!

Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting on an increasing trend amongst suburban homeowners: growing, instead of buying, food. As the price of food shoots up with the price of oil, using expensive fuel to get to the expensive store to buy expensive organic foods can be ex…hausting. It’s so much easier to grab a shovel, get some exercise, and grow your own organic food. H. C. Flores, author of Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community, has been advocating it for years as a way to save money, build community, and eat healthier. Well it seems that the idea is catching on. As the WSJ article reports:
At Al’s Garden Center in Portland, Ore., sales of vegetable plants this season have jumped an unprecedented 43% from a year earlier, and sales of fruit-producing trees and shrubs are up 17%. Sales of flower perennials, on the other hand, are down 16%. It’s much the same story at Williams Nursery, Westfield, N.J., where total sales are down 4.6% even as herb and vegetable-plant sales have risen 16%. And in Austin, Texas, Great Outdoors reports sales of flowers slightly down, while sales of vegetables have risen 20% over last year. […] George Ball, chief executive of seed giant W. Atlee Burpee & Co. in Warminster, Pa., says he thinks the veggie-gardening rage is prompted by more than just food costs. His business has seen more baby boomers “entering their prime gardening years,” he says. Now, this generation has “a lot of time, the rat race is over, a home that is likely to be their last, and kids past puberty,” he says. Burpee’s sales of vegetables and herbs are up about 40% this year, twice last year’s growth rate. Tomatoes, summer squash, onions, cucumbers, peas and beans continue to be top sellers. “We’re running out of things like onions, that you think would never be that hot and raging,” he says. In West Columbia, S.C., Sarah Rosenbaum ripped up about a quarter of her family’s landscaped yard to install six raised vegetable beds. “You get a pack of seeds for a dollar or two, and you have got a whole bed of organic vegetables for a fraction of what you’d pay at the store. And they taste better.”
Hear! Hear! I’m quite excited to see this trend growing. I’m even more excited receive some fresh organic vegetables from our very own raised bed farmer, Jonathan—or JTE as they call him around these (digital) parts. For the whole WSJ article, click here.


“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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