Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Victory Gardens and Grassless Lawns

During World War II, Americans grew tons of produce in government-sponsored Victory Gardens. With a 21st century twist, the idea is back, paired with an anti-lawn movement that decries the waste of water, use of an ingredient in Agent Orange and expenditure on fuel for power mowers to make front and back yards look like golf courses.

In New York City, Portland, Oregon and in front of San Francisco's City Hall, vegetables are growing, thanks to a new operation called MyFarm, which does the planting, weeding and harvesting and, for less than it costs to hire people to cut lawns, leaves a box of fresh organic produce on the doorstep.

At the same time, an organization name SALT (Smaller American Lawns Today) has been preaching the virtues of less grass and more trees and meadows, according to the New Yorker, which reports on a number of new books such as "Edible Estates" and "Food Not Lawns" to make American yards more productive.

In the New York Times blog "Designs," a New Yorker describes her own experiences in "swapping out blades of grass for bushels of beans" and recommends sources of information and help for what seems to be a rapidly growing movement.

Food for thought.


Anonymous said...

I read you every day. Simply mahvelous, darling, as Tahlula would say.
I am so excited about converting lawns to produce. Every year I add more garden and subtract more lawn. It's the only way to go what with rising food prices and ecological damage that lawns are responsible for.
I was born in 1942 and even after the war, those who could, always had something growing to eat. It was the thing to do.
Now if only I could convince my neighbors. Hmmmmm

Anonymous said...

We have a few "eccentrics" in town who mow no grass. Their yards are planted with ground cover, salad herbs, and perrenials. They used to be "different." Now they're written up the Sunday newspaper.

One "green" neighbor is an artist with a fair knock-off of Jan Vermeer's "Girl in a Hat" she painted on the side of her garage like a big Mail Pouch ad.

Thank god for nonconformists - we'd never get anywhere.