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.

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until next Spring. With author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors, you can grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s new book, Year-Round Indoor Salad […] Read More..

A Day in the Life of a Homesteader

As Homesteading Month comes to a close, we take a look at what it means to live the homesteading life every day. Read through the question and answer below and be sure to check out any of the previous articles you might have missed:Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders Homesteading Q&A: Solutions […] Read More..

Go Lean: How To Eliminate Waste and Increase Efficiency on the Farm

Using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence may seem sacrilegious, but today’s young farmers like author Ben Hartman are discovering that the same sound business practices apply whether you produce cars or carrots.In his new book The Lean Farm, Hartman demonstrates how applying lean principles—originally developed by the Japanese automotive industry—to farming practices […] Read More..

Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders

More and more often, young people are turning away from cities and urban life in order to live off the land and even start farms of their own. But while many have the desire to grow food for themselves and/or others, acquiring land, and the financial burden that comes with it, presents a difficult challenge […] Read More..

How to Distinguish Permaculture from Natural Farming

Just what are the differences between permaculture and natural farming? How are they connected, and where do they diverge in philosophy and principle?Those questions are answered in the following excerpt that is adapted from the newly released One-Straw Revolutionary, a book that delves into the philosophy and work of Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka […] Read More..