Chelsea Green Publishing

Food Not Lawns

Pages:344 pages
Book Art:Black and white line drawings
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781933392073
Pub. Date October 15, 2006

Food Not Lawns

How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community

By Heather Flores
Foreword by Toby Hemenway

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 15, 2006


Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution—it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt.

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own "paradise gardens."

But Food Not Lawns doesn't begin and end in the seed bed. This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden—simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community—to all aspects of life. Plant "guerilla gardens" in barren intersections and medians; organize community meals; start a street theater troupe or host a local art swap; free your kitchen from refrigeration and enjoy truly fresh, nourishing foods from your own plot of land; work with children to create garden play spaces.

Flores cares passionately about the damaged state of our environment and the ills of our throwaway society. In Food Not Lawns, she shows us how to reclaim the earth one garden at a time.


"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

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.

Library Journal-
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.

Sue O'Brien


Heather Flores

Heather C. Flores, a certified permaculture designer, holds a B.A. in ecology, education, and the arts from Goddard College. She offers environmental landscape design and consultation services. She is an author, artist, musician, community activist and farmer in Oregon. Her website is

For more information about the Food Not Lawns movement, visit


This Lawn is Your Lawn (pre-election version)


Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad (DVD)

Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad (DVD)

By Ross Conrad

The various chemicals used in beekeeping have, for the past decades, held Varroa Destructor, a mite, and other major pests at bay, but chemical resistance is building and evolution threatens to overtake the best that laboratory chemists have to offer. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making the problem worse. Ross Conrad flips the script on traditional approaches by proposing a program of selective breeding and natural hive management.This filmed workshop follows Ross Conrad through the dos and don'ts of natural beekeeping, and offers practical information—including details on apitherapy, the use of bee products in medicinal healing—every aspiring beekeeper needs to know. Including in-the-field footage of the author and his hives, and extensive information on:

  • Beekeeping Equipment
  • Tools and Clothing
  • Bee Space
  • The Basics of Honey Bee Biology
  • Varroa Mites - Biology, Identification and Monitoring
  • Varroa Mite Control
  • Other Pests and Predators of the Honey Bee
  • Common Hive Diseases
  • Feeding Bees
  • Honey Harvesting

Ross Conrad is the author of Natural Beekeeping (Chelsea Green, 2007), where he brought together the best organic and natural approaches to keeping honeybees healthy and productive. In the book, Conrad offers crucial nontoxic methods of controlling mites, eliminating American foulbrood disease (without the use of antibiotics), breeding strategies, and many other tips and techniques for maintaining healthy hives, as well as specific concepts and detailed management techniques covered in a matter-of-fact, easy-to-implement way. The book describes opportunities for the seasoned professional to modify existing operations, increase profits, and eliminate the use of chemical treatments.

Available in: DVD

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Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad (DVD)

Ross Conrad

DVD $24.95

The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening

The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening

By Gene Logsdon

Once upon a time people thought gardens were flat, rectangular, and planted in rows. People grew vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes. Then Gene Logsdon, the self-proclaimed dean of American curmudgeons, came along to smash the concept of garden to smithereens.

Gene Logsdon is an American original, a farmer who thinks, and a writer who gardens. He has written numerous books on aspects of independent living ranging from Organic Orcharding to Small-Scale Grain Raising.

Available in: Paperback

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The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening

Gene Logsdon

Paperback $16.95

The Soul of Soil

The Soul of Soil

By Joseph Smillie and Grace Gershuny

Soil is the basis not only for all gardening, but for all terrestrial life. No aspect of agriculture is more fundamental and important, yet we have been losing vast quantities of our finite soil resources to erosion, pollution, and development.

Now back in print, this eminently sensible and wonderfully well-focused book provides essential information about one of the most significant challenges for those attempting to grow delicious organic vegetables: the creation and maintenance of healthy soil.

Chapter 2, "Understanding the Soil System," is alone worth the price of admission. Gershuny and Smillie give lay readers and experts a clear explanation of subjects--soil life and nutrient cycles--that have confounded most authors. Nowhere will the reader find simpler and more coherent descriptions of key concepts including cation exchange capacity and chelation.

There are other books about soil available, including Grace Gershuny's comprehensive Start with the Soil, and there are books that feature chapters on soil building. What distinguishes The Soil of Soilis the authors' concise presentation; they give readers important information, including technical essentials, without getting bogged down in scientific or quasiscientific mumbo-jumbo. In addition, useful tables list specific compost materials, green manures, and other resources that allow growers to translate into action the more general information provided by the book.

The soil-building techniques featured include:

  • Organic matter management
  • Building and maintaining humus
  • On-site composting
  • Green manures and rotations
  • Cultivation and weed control
  • Nutrient balances and soil testing
  • Using mineral fertilizers
  • Planning for organic certification

Updates to the 1999 edition include analysis of Proposed Rules for the National Organic Standards, and expanded recommendations for private testing services and soil-testing equipment for home gardeners and organic farmers.

All of us involved in the cultivation of plants--from the backyard gardener to the largest farmer--need to help regenerate a "living soil," for only in the diversity of the soil and its creatures can we ensure the long-term health of ourselves and our environment. The Soul of Soil offers everyone a basic understanding of what soil is and what we can do to improve our own patch of it. Seen in this light, this practical handbook will be an inspiration as well.


Available in: Paperback

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The Soul of Soil

Grace Gershuny, Joseph Smillie

Paperback $25.00

Asian Vegetables

Asian Vegetables

By Sally Cunningham

Asian Vegetables brings together a wealth of information on over 40 varieties of fruit, vegetables and spices that are grown on the Indian subcontinent and form a distinctive part of the unique cuisine in that part of the world.

Each plant comes together with details of what to look for when buying, the different varieties available, their nutritional value, comprehensive cultivation instructions, useful colour photographs and much more. Most can be grown almost anywhere, though some will grow best and thrive in the warmer, wetter parts of this country. The author Sally Cunningham has personally researched, grown, cooked and eaten every plant mentioned in this book.

With this unique guide both the experienced gardener and those new to growing will bring variety and a fresh, new dimension to the food on their plates and the plants in their garden.

Available in: Paperback

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Asian Vegetables

Sally Cunningham

Paperback $24.95