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)


The Organic Gardeners Handbook

The Organic Gardeners Handbook

By Frank Tozer

The Organic Gardeners Handbook tells you everything you need to know to create a highly productive vegetable garden. Combining European tradition with American creativity, it covers the art and science of organic gardening with a depth that is rarely seen in contemporary books. There are chapters on every aspect of organic vegetable gardening, soil dynamics, soil management, cultivation, composting, crop planning, raising seedlings, watering, harvesting, seed saving, greenhouses, and much more. Whether you are a complete novice and need your hand held through every step, or a veteran gardener with a permanent layer of soil under your fingernails, you will find this book both helpful and informative. A book that will soon be covered in dirty fingerprints, The Organic Gardeners Handbook is a companion to The Vegetable Growers Handbook.

Available in: Paperback

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The Organic Gardeners Handbook

Frank Tozer

Paperback $24.95

Perennial Vegetables & Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier (Book & DVD Bundle)

Perennial Vegetables & Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier (Book & DVD Bundle)

By Eric Toensmeier

Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as perennial flowers and shrubs, need no annual tilling or planting, yet thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season.

Get the best information on growing these easy and interesting crops from Eric Toensmeier's award-winning book Perennial Vegetables, and tour his own lush forest garden in the new DVD, Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier

About Perennial Vegetables:

In Toensmeier's book, Perennial Vegetables (Chelsea Green, 2007), the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less-common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food. In his book, readers will find perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible-landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than a hundred species, with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

About Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier (DVD):

In the DVD—a culmination of workshops recorded in Mexico, Florida, and Massachusetts—plant specialist Eric Toensmeier introduces gardeners to more than 100 species of little-known, underappreciated plants. Ranging beyond the usual suspects (asparagus, rhubarb, and artichoke) to include such delights as ground cherry, ramps, air potatoes, the fragrant spring tree, and the much-sought-after, antioxidant-rich wolfberry (also known as the goji berry), Toensmeier explains how to raise, tend, harvest, and cook with plants that yield great crops and culinary satisfaction. Toensmeier also takes viewers on a plant-by-plant tour of his garden in Massachusetts.

Available in: Mixed media product

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Perennial Vegetables & Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier (Book & DVD Bundle)

Eric Toensmeier

Mixed media product $59.95

Getting Started in Permaculture

Getting Started in Permaculture

By Ross Mars and Jenny Mars

Permaculture experts Ross and Jenny Mars outline the steps to transform your garden into a productive living system. Modeled upon the development of Candlelight Farm, and illustrated with photographs, this guide encourages the reader to make positive steps towards reconciling human impact with nature - following the permaculture ideal.

Permaculture is based on the ethics of caring for people and our planet. It is about growing your own healthy food, being resourceful and environmentally responsible. Permaculture concepts and ideas can be applied successfully from small suburban units to large farming properties.

Getting Started in Permaculture delivers step-by-step knowledge for a variety of useful projects including: making herb fertilizers, compost, organic sprays for pest control, and much, much more. It also includes how to recycle your soft drink bottles, waste paper, and tires in a number of useful projects such as ponds, fruit fly traps, retailing walls, and solar stills.

As part of Permanent Publications Simple Living Series, this practical and accessible guide for gardeners of all skill levels serves as an ideal introduction to the world of permaculture.

Available in: Paperback

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Getting Started in Permaculture

Ross Mars, Jenny Mars

Paperback $14.95

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